If your only PayPal account is a Business account, then read this.

I’ve had PayPal since they were their own company, unrelated to eBay. PayPal has always been a very convenient way for friends and family to send funds between one another, with relatively good security.

TL;DR If you only have one PayPal account and it is a Business account, then you should either create a new, personal PayPal account or ask PayPal to convert your Business account over to personal.   This way you’re able to receive Friends & Family payments when applicable, and not pay 3% in fees.

At one point, I was encouraged by PayPal to convert my account over to a Business account.   I went ahead with it, because there were no drawbacks to switching and a couple of added features.    After switching to the business account type, many payments began to default to the “Goods or Services” option when others would send money.    Also, by default, when using any website integration the payment is classified as “Goods or Services” with no ability to change it.    The same is true of any payments made via PayPal.me links, when the account is a business account.

I could still, however, receive payments from friends and family without fees when they selected the “Friends and Family” option when sending money from their account.

This may seem like a minor detail, but keep reading.   Hopefully you’re already aware of this, but what this meant back then was that any of the “non-F&F” payments received would count against the IRS Reporting threshold.   This threshold used to be a reasonable amount:  No reporting was done if you were under both 200 transactions and US$20,000 per calendar year.   Going over this would necessitate the reporting of all transactions beyond those limits as well as all prior transactions for the year (excluding F&F).

If you’d like to read the fine print on this, click here to view the PayPal User Agreement from 2017 (via WayBackMachine).  Search for “200” within that page and you’ll find the right section.  

Then, in contrast, click here to view the 2022 User Agreement.   (Search for 600 within this document)

Why 600?

Because, as part of the bills passed during COVID and within the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 they slipped a couple of bonuses in there for us to help everyone recover from the pandemic.

Among these bonus items, after they realized that some Americans were receiving exorbitant amounts of money from reselling clothes and household items on eBay, and accepting payments with Venmo at their garage sales, (*long, Office Space Lumbergh stretch*)… Yeah, we just went ahead and…. fixed that glitch.   Mmmm-kay? Great.     Now that I’ve got the Office Space dramatics out of my system, in regular English this means:

Reporting Requirements
Before 12/31/2021: 200 transactions or US$20,000, per year.
   After 12/31/2021:     1 transaction   or US$     600, per year

Now that you realize the minor adjustment they made to the reporting thresholds, the next point will come into better focus.

A few months ago, a family member sent me $10 or so to pay their part of a dinner tab.   I just happened to notice on my PayPal account that this came across as a payment for Goods & Services, so I promptly refunded the transaction and told them to send it with F&F.    I checked on my desktop, using the PayPal web site and indeed I was able to select F&F without issue.   

After a repeated incident with another family member, one who was adamant that there was no option to change to F&F, I inspected further.   It appeared that PayPal had changed the iOS app such that it didn’t prompt for the type of payment while sending money.  

(Bear in mind, that recipients are stored in your “Contacts” within PayPal and they have(had) an option for each one indicating what the default payment type would be–Goods/Services or F&F.)

I thought it was just a glitch within the iOS app so I directed them to use the full website, which worked at that time.

No longer does it work.    Apparently PayPal had been hinting at the removal of the F&F payment option within Business accounts for some time now.   But I don’t recall receiving any type of account notice from them about this.    

The next day, after I proceeded to send PayPal customer service a message after reading this Quora page along with a couple other similar pages.    See, I had set up a separate PayPal account some years ago which I use exclusively for business payments.   But, until now, there wasn’t much reason to pursue changing my account type on my non-business account.

This was about a month ago that I sent them the message, as of this writing, and I’ve not heard anything back from them on it.   I really don’t want to set up a brand new PayPal account for use as a personal account.   So, I waited patiently to let them do their thing as I was sure they were probably inundated with requests from others to do the exact same thing to their business accounts.

However, it having been over a month now, I decided to go ahead and call PayPal to make sure that it got done.

Been a long time since I needed to call PayPal for anything, and let me tell you:  PayPal customer service is nothing like it used to be.

They used to answer your call promptly, and have well-trained agents ready to tackle any problem you threw their way.    This time, the first agent I spoke with told me she needed my email address from the account I wanted to convert.    I gave her two of the registered email addresses from the account, but she couldn’t locate the account using either of them.   (Spelled slowly, one letter at a time)   I ended up giving my phone numbers (uniquely attached to this single account), among several other things.   Ultimately I had to provide a full transaction ID number for her to find the account.

Once she did, she said that my account had a limitation and I wouldn’t be able to send or receive any funds until it was resolved.   Because of this, she would have to transfer me to an account specialist.   I asked her how there had been a card approval on my PayPal debit card on the same day as this call, and she dodged the question.   I agreed to wait, thanked her for her help, and patiently waited.   She came back a couple minutes later, and said that she would be transferring me now.

Great, I thought.    This probably won’t take too long.     90 minutes later I decided to go ahead and place another call to PayPal using my landline while I had the 2 minute music loop going on my cell phone.    I spoke with someone within 5 minutes, and when I asked if the other line was just a perpetual hold she explained how busy they were. 

I didn’t think, “Oh, that makes sense”.   But I still just explained what I needed and she said she could try to convert the account for me.    She asked me to wait, which I did for about 5 minutes.

After the wait, she explained that she did try but was unsuccessful.   She said that the system had been having problems with converting accounts every so often, so I should try again in 48 hours.    I asked if she was submitting a ticket for this issue, and she claimed she was.    She also claimed I’d be receiving a follow-up email about this issue.   I’ll not be holding my breath and fully expect I’ll need to call again.

I disconnected that second call after the timer had hit about 20 minutes.   The first call that was still on hold was, still on hold.   I disconnected that call when it was about 1 hour 45 minutes.    After finding a prototype of the speed-dial console popular with customer service these days, I think I know where I got placed.   (See photo)   (Kidding…)

I’ll update this when (and IF) I’m able to get my account converted over to a personal account again.   In the meantime, my suggestion to you is that if you only have one PayPal account and it is a business account — then you’d better either create a secondary account for personal use, or contact PayPal to try to get yours converted.   If you wait until you need to make a transaction, and create the new account on-the-fly, you’re all but guaranteed to have your account be limited while they review it.

All of this sure does make Cryptocurrency all the more appealing at the end of the day — despite the volatility.

Let me know your thoughts on this subject, and any alternatives you’re using instead of PayPal if you switched.    

Thanks for reading, and I hope this didn’t come across as a long rant — I try to summarize my experiences so you can hopefully avoid the same frustrations.    

~Josh

Google Workspace ACH Payment Nightmare

Sorry for yet another rant, but I feel obliged to share these kind of experiences so others out there don’t feel alone.

Another customer of mine that I set up long ago on the “Google Apps” free edition and they must be transitioned over to a paid account.   Single user, pretty straightforward — or so I thought.    I recommended they use the ACH payment option, as it would remove a potential point of failure where renewals go.  (As the banking details don’t expire)    I knew from experience that Google supported using the account details as a payment source.

So, I log in to this customer’s computer, and open up the appropriate page, using an Incognito instance of Chrome.  I go through the setup process, all of the accurate business information, etc. and then I come to the payment source.

When selecting ‘Bank account’ as a payment source, the sub-options presented are ‘Checking’, ‘Savings’, and ‘Business’.   I selected Business and filled in the account and routing numbers.     I was then presented with options to either provide Google with my bank login, or verify the account via test deposits.    This customer was particularly old-school, so I didn’t even ask if he wanted to give Google his bank’s login details.   (Yes, I know, it’s a secure third party and all that, but still…)

Selected the test deposit route, and that’s when I was presented with the message shown in the attached image.   I clicked to acknowledge this message, and then clicked to Finalize the order.    

Received an error message:

“An unexpected error has occurred.  Please try again later.  [OR-CAC-01]”.

My only option there is to dismiss the message.     Attempting to re-submit the order provides a different error message:

“You cannot add this bank account as it already exists in your account.  [OR-BSBBF-70]”

Clicking any additional times results in the most recent error message repeating itself.

So, I disconnect from the client’s computer and carry on from one of my own.    I initially attempted the steps again on my own isolated computer and had the same result.    Then I went the Google support route, thinking that surely they’ll have a dedicated, cheery team just for helping customers get payment details set up properly.

Nope.   I couldn’t make up some of the stuff I encountered during my chat sessions (yes, plural) over several days.  

The first representative insisted that I needed to wait for the deposits to appear.   He said that he thought I just needed to enter the amounts once I saw the deposits.    When I asked him where I would enter the amounts, he pasted some info from a support page that didn’t apply.    Ultimately he agreed with my joking that a magical box would appear as soon as the deposits are cleared.

A few days later, after there were indeed no deposits, I opened a new chat.   This guy was a real wizard.    After sending him a video of the whole process, including the deposit notification, errors, etc. (just like the first rep), the second one proceeded to ask me where the deposits were coming from.   (what?)

Then, he insisted I needed to verify that the account had sufficient funds to cover the deposit.   And also he was reaching for reasons to let me go, asking how long I had waited after the first attempt, etc.

Ultimately, when I put him on the spot and insisted, he transferred me to the Payments team, apparently an escalation department.    After all was said and done here, I performed a packet capture on my attempt and submitted it to Google.    I asked them from the beginning to have all case information sent to my email, because the account I was using to chat with them was an admin-only user account, with no access to email.    With 7 days remaining before suspension, I asked him to extend it so I wasn’t cutting it so close.   He said they were unable to do that, and that it would definitely be resolved before that timeframe was elapsed.

So, now there are 2 days remaining, and I’ve yet to receive a single email regarding the case.   Opened a new chat with Google, asking this rep to please update the case with my email address so I could receive updates.    I then proceeded to modify the email routes to modify the recipient when addressed to my account’s alias.   

It’s looking like I’ll be moving this customer over to Microsoft.  It’s just another stark reminder of how difficult it is to get ahold of the right people at a big company such as Google.  Ideally, I’d have dialed in to Google, pressed the option for the billing department.    Possibly I’d have needed a supervisor, but doubtful.    I’d have read the routing and account number over the phone, and they would either ask for an image of a canceled check or just bill the $5/month without it.

I have one last idea that might work, which is for me to get a prepaid credit card and use that for the initial billing setup.   Then, after that’s set up, I might be able to more easily add the bank account in order to use it for billing.     If that does work, I’ll update this post to let you know!

Hope that this might help someone, or save some frustration.   The best advice I have would be to insist on the chat being escalated to a Billing specialist.   At least you’ll be chatting with someone who doesn’t think you need to check your balance to make sure you have enough to receive a deposit.  ūüôā   –Josh

UPDATE:   I recorded a video and made one last attempt to set up billing with ACH as the source.   Still received the same error messages.    No word back from Google still either.    So, I set up billing by using a prepaid credit card I purchased, and immediately after doing that, I went to the Billing settings and chose to add a new payment source. Entered the bank details, and like magic, now it shows the account as pending and there is a button to click to “verify” the deposit amounts.    I have a feeling Google’s onboarding process is just broken, at least for some, so if you encounter this then your best bet is to grab a prepaid card for the initial payment.   Hope this saves someone some time, as I certainly wasted enough of it for a few dozen people. 

(P.S.  Using some new software to post this, so hopefully it’s not too out of whack!)

Evernote going downhill

Well, I’ve always been a big fan of Evernote.   I’d made the move from OneNote some years back, and had been mostly happy with the result.   I was somewhat forced into the move at the time because my LiveScribe smart pen would not synchronize with OneNote, and would only sync wirelessly to Evernote.   So I forced myself to learn it.    Have used it for many years, and been a paying customer just to do my part to support the ecosystem.

Lo and behold, about a year ago, I found myself trying to search for notes within a specific timeframe.   This tends to happen when you have such an amount of notes.   Let me say, I was not thrilled when I learned that I needed to “upgrade” to an even HIGHER tier than I was on already, just to be able to search in-between two dates.   Really?   </sigh>   Then I actually had tried to upgrade to that higher tier, finally just giving in to the fact that my data was being held hostage with no easy “out” in sight.   At least none that I’m aware of.   I need to look further into that.

Anyhow, the latest “bonus” that I’ve gotten from Evernote is that some of my historical data was purged, likely to save a couple of kilobytes of space on whatever storage medium they’re using.    I was just going back through some of my notes, converting old notes into invoiced time.   I often use the “note history” function for this, as it shows me when I first created a note, and then how many times I edited it and the timestamps associated with the edits.    Evernote decided I didn’t really need the time portion of those stamps, and they just went ahead and changed them all to 12:00:00 AM.   No, I’m not kidding.    I’m still soaking this in because it’s a HUGE blow to the data I thought was safe.    I’ll include a screenshot below, while blurring out any sensitive information.

Actual timestamps discarded, then modified to 12:00:00 AM. Unbelievable.

It’s just truly unbelievable.   Maybe I expect too much.    But really, how much space does the timestamp really take? 5 bytes maybe?   Just think twice before starting a relationship with Evernote, and certainly don’t place them at the core of what you do.  You’ll be surprised down the road, and not in a good way.   I could be wrong, but thus far — for me — it’s been mostly bad surprises.   Not much that I’ve noticed added as far as features along the way, although they have polished the client software a little bit.   It’s still very slow when you have a lot of notes, and isn’t as fast as you’d expect something with an offline database to be.

 

So I’ve submitted a support ticket to Evernote.   Will almost assuredly be working on moving away from Evernote to an alternative over the coming few weeks, so I will share my steps taken to accomplish this.    

Sorry if this post seems like overwhelming negativity…. I’m just trying to soak in the fact that this data is lost, think about what to do for mitigation and avoidance in the future.   If the support team respond with something positive, or there turns out to be a way to recover the actual timestamps, then I will definitely revise this post to share that information.

P.S.  A snippet from their page about their systems security states
                            …Evernote retains your content unless you take explicit steps to delete notes and/or notebooks. For information on how to delete notes, please see this help center article. For information on our retention policies, please refer to the section of our privacy policy, titled ‚ÄúInformation Deletion‚ÄĚ.

And they have posted in the past specifically on their contingency plans that were in place to ensure the longevity of their data.   So I’ve always felt pretty safe keeping my data with them.   In the past, anyway…

 

Have a great day…

–Josh

 

 

Wise — previously known as TransferWise — my experience

I wanted to briefly share my experience with a company called Wise.com.    I was helping a client of mine to send some relief funds to a contact in Ukraine during this perilous time.   He had tried wiring funds directly with his bank and it failed to go through.    I told him that Western Union was offering free transfers to Ukraine that have been extended to the end of May, 2022.

Alas, he had problems with Western Union in the past asking many questions and ultimately not following through on other transfers, so he wanted to avoid them if possible.    So, I signed up for a Wise account in my client’s name, and entered all of his personal details, the recipients details, including IBAN code, name, address and email address.

I was then presented with a page showing the various funding source options:

Since he didn’t have a debit card attached to the account he wanted to source the funds from, I suggested to him that the first option looked like a good option.   When he was worried about providing them with his bank login credentials, I assured him that the third-party they were using (Plaid) was a reputable firm and it was quite standard of a practice to use such a service.

He got logged in to his bank, a large bank in the area he’s from, and after the SMS verification steps, he was presented with a confirmation window stating that Wise was requesting access to ALL of his bank accounts.   There was no option to select just one of the accounts.   It was all, or nothing.

So, reluctantly, we proceeded and the next page then showed the same list of accounts (albeit in a different order) and asked which one he wanted to use for sourcing this transaction.    He selected the appropriate account, and proceeded to the next step.     The next step indicated that the transfer may take longer than originally expected, but he could choose another option if desired.    Placing hope in the original estimate, we continued anyway and submitted the final confirmation page.

The site then showed the transfer as “waiting for funds to be received” and the expected transfer date was a Friday.  (It was Monday).   I told him that we would just hope for the best, that they might be able to stick to their original timetable.

The next day, I opened up a chat with them and found out that they do not transmit any funds until the ACH transaction fully clears your bank and is received at their bank.   When I was flabbergasted and asked which bank they used that could clear an ACH transaction in 4 hours, they would not provide any details.   They just stated that the estimates provided were the “best case scenario”.    I told them I felt that this was a deceptive business practice and misleading at best.   If they’re going to state the transaction completion time for a credit card as “32 minutes” then they should at least say “from 4 hours to 7 days” underneath the ACH option.    Misleadingly stating the “best case scenario” (which must be that you own Wise and you’re doing an account-to-account transfer) was very wrong in my opinion.    When I mentioned I could have gone with Western Union for no fees and probably had a better outcome, then requesting that they provide some sort of discount to the fees, the supervisor stated that they would not provide any concession.   They told me that I needed to read through all of their help documents and make sure I look at the fine print.

So much for trusting a company and taking them at their word!    As they say, YMMV (your mileage may vary) but I would recommend steering clear of Wise if you have any time-sensitive funds transfers that you need to execute.   If they can be misleading about this aspect of things, most certainly the other payment sources probably have many asterisks and terms attached also.    

Hope this information is helpful to someone.    And prayers for all of those affected by the current situation in the Ukraine.

–Josh

 

Think twice before giving your credit card to Readly!

Now, in all fairness, I thoroughly enjoyed Readly for a time when I was traveling more often.    It is a nice service, very visually appealing on an iPad, and works very well.   However, I decided several months ago that it wasn’t worth $9.99 a month to me.    Not to mention that I already have Apple News which includes a plethora of magazines also.

TL; DR  Use a card like a Privacy card when subscribing to Readly, so you can easily cancel.

So, after deciding to cancel I promptly opened up the mobile app on my iPad.   Hmm, that’s strange.   No cancellation option.   No problem, I’ll just use the support email and send them an email from the email account that my Readly service is registered to.    This would provide them pretty definitive evidence that I was the one making the request.   

I sent my first message to them August 15th of this year, giving them the last digits of the card that was being charged, my full name, told them my account email address, and asked them to please cancel the subscription with immediate effect.

It wasn’t until around November 1, 2021, that I realized I’d not received any reply from them.    So I checked my credit card statement, yep the charged me again.    Super.    So I sent them another email, within which I expressed my frustration that I was needing to send another email in the first place.   I also told them that my first inclination was just to dispute the charge, but my credit card company suggested that I make one more attempt as a good-faith gesture.

Fast forward to today, December 2, 2021, and I’m seeing another charge on my credit card statement.  I’m just over-the-moon happy when I see this!    So, I promptly go to my email to find when I sent the email to them last.    There was a Zendesk seemingly canned auto-reply from my prior email that I’d neglected to see because it had been filtered as a newsletter.

Don’t leave yet, the best part is yet to come! So, within this email… well– I’ll just include a screenshot of it below so I don’t misconstrue it.

 

Screenshot of email response from Readly
Seems innocent enough, until you actually read it.

 

Okay, so the first time, I sent them the following information using the process in their mobile app, while logged in to my account!

  • My full name
  • My account’s email address
  • The amount that I was charged
  • The last four digits of the credit card that was debited
  • Various data embedded by the app into the submission, not visible to me.

The next time, I contacted them by composing an email from the email address on my account, directly to the support email address.

So I’m about to respond to them and ask how exactly they are protecting my information from unauthorized persons by using this process.    It seems more like they are protecting Readly from any subscriber loss.

Are they seriously insinuating that they have these protections in place because email account hackers might gain access to my email account, realize that I have a Readly subscription, and then try to masquerade as me in order to cancel my Readly subscription?    I mean, surely, if it is on the list of malicious actions taken by email account hackers — it’s gotta be down toward the bottom of the list.     And by that I mean, maybe 1 person.

The funny part is that — even IF that scenario took place, and someone tried to maliciously cancel my account, there would be Zero information provided to the malicious party!    (Excepting, of course, the confirmation that service was canceled.)

I wouldn’t be writing this blog post right now, save for the fact that Readly has no presence in the United States.    Otherwise, I’d be posting a complaint on the Better Business Bureau page for the company.  (There is a BBB profile for a Readly, LLC, complete with someone complaining of unauthorized charges, but alas — I don’t believe it’s accurate.   There are no other mentions on the Internet of Readly at this address and there is another occupant at their supposed address.)

So, I’m off to dispute these transactions!

–Josh

 

Switching from Cricket Wireless to Visible

Comparing Visible to Cricket

  Visible Cricket Cricket (Plus)
Cost (1 device) $25 – $40** $55 $60
Cost (5 devices) $125 (via Party) $125 $160
Mobile Hotspot Yes, Unlimited data, Max 5Mbps for 1 device No Yes, 15 GB total
Data Speeds 5G capped at 200Mbps 8 Mbps No limit
Data Type 5G LTE 5G
Coverage Map Verizon AT&T AT&T
Apple Watch Yes, $5/mo No No
Customer Service Online chat, social media Online chat, social media, toll-free Online chat, social media, toll-free

Here are the links to the coverage maps for AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Above is a general comparison between the two carriers.   I think that Visible is the better choice currently.

When signing up for new service, you’ll find there are many good promotions in place for switching over to Visible.¬† ¬†Even Verizon Wireless customers can take advantage of these promotions.

You can complete the signup using your mobile device or the Visible website.¬† ¬†If using your mobile device then I’d suggest downloading the Visible app first.¬† ¬†Download on Google Play or Apple App Store.

But, when you are going through the signup process, be SURE that you enter in this promotion code and you will receive your first month of service for only $5.00: 3tvGfF.¬† ¬†The capitalization must be exact.¬† And if you miss it during signup, there’s no way for them to correct it later.¬† ¬†You can also try to use this link if you are signing up using your computer, but I’ve found that it doesn’t copy the promo code properly when using the link on your phone.¬† ¬†Just enter it into the Promo code field to be sure during checkout!

If the promotion code has been applied properly, then you will see a summary that looks similar to this, with your first month being listed as $5.00:

My experience with Visible has been okay thus far, with excellent data speeds and coverage.   As with all carriers, there are some areas that are better than others in terms of coverage.

**Regarding the “Party Pay” feature that Visible has to allow you to bring your monthly cost down:¬† This is a unique offering where members are joined as a “Party” but they are not financially connected at all.¬† So each member pays their own bill, but by being a member of a group with 4 or more members, you receive the maximum discount that brings your service down to $25 per month.¬† ¬†If you don’t have friends or family that you can join with, then you can always join in this public Party Pay group from a Reddit group.

The great offers that Visible has currently is on the iPhone 13 phone line as well as the iPhone 12.   They are currently offering a $200.00 gift card when purchasing any of the iPhone 12/13 models.  Additionally, you will receive a free Apple HomePod smart speaker when purchasing one of these phones.

If you can’t afford a new iPhone, then there are plenty of other offers to take advantage of.¬† ¬†Just bringing your own device will get you a $100.00 gift card!¬† ¬† And Visible is also eSIM capable so you may be able to use your own device without waiting for a SIM card in the mail!¬† ¬† I’d recommend going with the physical SIM card, however, because the eSIM process is a little tricky at times.

Last, but not least:  Make 100% sure that your device is Carrier Unlocked.   You can check this on an iPhone by going to Settings > General > About, then look for the lock status as shown in the image below.     Unfortunately, on an Android device, generally speaking the only way to check and see if the phone is locked is to insert a SIM from another carrier.

If it is locked, then you have two options:
1) If you purchased the device from Cricket originally, then you should be able to get it unlocked quick and easy with these instructions.   Be sure to do this BEFORE you sign up for Visible!

2) If you purchased the device elsewhere, all carriers have different policies.¬† ¬†Generally speaking, as long as the device is paid off and isn’t flagged as being lost or stolen, then you shouldn’t have trouble getting it unlocked.¬† ¬†But if you don’t do this ahead of time, when you insert the Visible SIM into your phone — it will let you know that it’s not a valid SIM and it won’t function until the phone is unlocked.¬† ¬† Unlock commands are passed down from Apple’s secure activation servers.
Verizon: Auto-unlocks 60 days after activation
Sprint: You can request unlock via website if account is active, must call in otherwise.
T-Mobile: You must contact T-Mobile (Sprint) to request an unlock
AT&T: You can request an unlock via this online form.  They are pretty quick to respond.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments!
Other Carriers:¬†If you bought your phone via another MVNO such as Straight Talk, Walmart Family Mobile, etc. then you’ll likely need to contact them directly.¬† ¬†Apple won’t be able to help you and will just direct you to the carrier.¬† As a last resort, you can use an online company such as sim-unlock.net where they have reasonably priced unlock services for almost all carriers and phones.

–Josh

 

Finding Ubiquiti UniFi hardware on eBay

Popular Ubiquiti switches have been difficult to come by because of stock issues direct from the manufacturer.   Typically it’s best to buy from the manufacturer if possible, but if you’re in a pinch and need the hardware for an implementation then I’ve included a few links for custom eBay searches that filter things down to what you want to see (for the most part).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New VoIP Phone Recommendations

Yealink T40G

Check eBay Prices

3 physical line keys
2.3″ 132×64 LCD
Gigabit Ethernet switch

View T40  datasheet

T42S is also an option, the only difference is it has 6 physical line keys instead of 3.  Click here to check eBay prices on the T42S

Yealink T53

Check eBay Prices

8 physical line keys
3.7″ 360×160 backlit LCD
Gigabit Ethernet switch
Bluetooth/Wi-Fi can be added by purchasing a USB dongle.

8 line keys can be programmed up to 21 various features (3-page view)

View full datasheet

Yealink T54S

Check eBay Prices

10 physical line keys
4.3″ 480×272 color LCD
Gigabit Ethernet switch
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

10 line keys can be programmed up to 27 various features (3-page view)

View full datasheet

 

 

Yealink T46

Check prices on eBay

10 line keys with LED
4.3″ 480×272 color display
Gigabit Ethernet switch

10 line keys can be programmed up to 27 paperless
DSS keys (3-page view)

View full datasheet

Yealink T48

Check prices on eBay

29 onscreen shortcut keys
7″ 800×480 touch screen
Gigabit Ethernet switch

View full datasheet

Yealink T57W

Check prices on eBay

29 onscreen shortcut keys
7″ 800×480 touch screen
Gigabit Ethernet switch

View full datasheet

Plantronics Headsets for Cisco SPA504, SPA525, or other SPA-5xx

I’m often asked for my recommendation for a good quality headset to use along with a Cisco SPA5xx Desk VoIP telephone.  I will expand this page with further options, but for the time being I will list one of my favorites.    I will provide a link to eBay which will give you a much better deal than buying brand new.

 

The beauty of the new Plantronics Savi model line is that the base station connects three different ways simultaneously:   To your desk phone, via bluetooth to your mobile phone, and via USB to your computer.   Or you can just use it to the desk phone by itself.    You can roam 350 feet from the base station, and press the button on the side of the headset to answer/end the call.  There is a special cable that I list below that you need to get as well, which allows the headset to communicate with the Cisco phone.

I would suggest the Plantronics W730 headset.   Just click on the image of the model you want to check the latest prices for.   But, you will need to get this cable no matter which one you get:  Plantronics APC-45 cable

W740
W720
W710
W730

Finding Apple Products on eBay

So often I am asked by someone to find them a great deal on eBay for various items.    As we all know, there are untold hundreds of thousands of items on eBay at any given time, with thousands of them receiving the digital “gavel” every second.   So, I’ve started to create a quick reference of links that will transport you directly to what you’re looking for on eBay!    Right now, I’m working on mostly Apple products, because they are the most difficult to find without really knowing the ropes.

So please leave me your feedback, comments or ideas if you would like me to spend time adding something specific to this list, or think that I should have it laid out a different way.    This page will surely evolve over time but this is what I have so far.   And to be honest this page is very useful for myself as well, so I thought I might as well create something that could be shared and appreciated by all.