So i’m just perusing (read: catching up on) blogs I frequent, when I come across this:
If you hadn’t, read through and check it out. I’ll be here when you finish…..
Alright, i’m a little slow, but this is cool. I’ve been meaning to do a voice over internet protocol primer (VoIP) for a while now. It’s not gonna happen now either, but here’s the skinny. There are programs out there that will let you place phone calls on the internet for literally little to nothing. This is basically like Instant messaging, but with voice (and nowadays video in cases). If you’ve seen those commercials for Vonage or the “Digital Phone” deal from cable companies like Time Warner, then you have seen one side of it. These basically take your landline phone service out of the equation (unless you have DSL broadband) and run your calls, as i’ve said, through the internet. My best friend has Vonage and the voice quality is great. You would not know that the call was going through the ‘net. You also get voicemail and the option to check your voicemail over the web as an MP3 attachment(at least Vonage as I know it). However the drawback is, no power, no phone. Unless you keep a generator handy. And you NEED Broadband internet service. Dial up WILL not work with this!
That’s one way. The other way to do VoIP is calling computer to computer. This is usually free and all you would need is your computer, a headset (or microphone and speakers) plugged into said computer, and a program like Skype, Project Gizmo, Google Talk (now integrated with Gmail), MSN, Yahoo messenger, AOHELL(probably or soon), and others. They all allow you to talk to others on the individual programs, but not each other. And I don’t expect that to change anytime soon, either. And they usually have a way that you can also call from your computer to someone’s house or cellphone. This usually entails buying minutes (think Calling Card or Prepaid phone like) from whichever program’s provider you choose to use, assuming they offer that. In a couple of cases, you can even get a full fledged phone number that people can use to call on, with voicemail. The minutes are really cheap if you are calling inside the US and Canada. They do have rates for other countries that are fairly reasonable if comparing to the phone companies.
Anyway, you have no doubt seen the nice little “Call me” button, which I have to change, near the bottom left of the site. I’ve been toying with it off and on since it came out. And I would love to try the others, if there are any volunteers. Shoot me an email. I encourage you to try at least one of them and tell your friends. The sound quality (for skype anyway) is also pretty good. This will more than likely tie you to a computer unless you opt to buy some accessories like a VoIP enabled cordless phone. Be warned, just like with Vonage and the like, Broadband internet is prefered. Dial up will probably work, but not so well. You are pushing a lot of data through your connection. Also, no power, no worky. Unless you have Gen…HEY!!
Well, let me reign this in. The reason I was excited about the above post is because I use Skype sometimes when I call long distance. Which means I use what they call SkypeOut minutes for this. Now, with the above announcement, I don’t have to use any of my minutes to call anyone in the US or Canada. And since I don’t know anyone in Canada, I can pretty much relegate it to the US. This is SWEET! So if you get a call from some crazy looking number (because apparently Skype calls don’t show up like regular numbers), and you aren’t hiding from bill collectors…Don’t act like i’m the ONLY one…it might be me.
Now would be a great time to try this stuff out. DO IT! DO IT! In case you want to try out a PC to PC VoIP solution and you haven’t clicked the links above, you can go here:
Google Talk – If you already have a Gmail account, you already have it and it’s quite possibly
already activated. Just check the bottom of your inbox page.
P.P.S. – Oh, and if you have webcam, you can use some of these for video chat. I love