Saturday, July 22, 2006

Review: Skype

If you don't have Skype yet. What are you waiting for? I became a Skype customer almost a year ago. When I moved to my new home, I found that my telephone line was more like a party line. In reality, this was no party. It's no fun when someone calls your number and gets a completely different person, or when your phone rings quite a few times a day and none ofthe calls are for you. One of the people that my mom called when she dialed my number, said he keeps getting calls for Maria. He didn't know a maria. I got rid of that phone line after just one day. Yes , all of that happened in one day. Anyway, DSL wasn't available to my house but cable was, this is actually an interesting story for a later date. I settled on cable and decided to get VOIP service. I had downloaded skype when I lived at my parents house, but since I had a cell phone, I really didn't use it to call anyone, but my brother. It gets a little boring calling your brother on skype when he is only upstairs, so I really had no need for it. It was a novelty thing. Now I use it almost everyday. When I signed-up, I only subscribed to SkypeIn. This way people could call me, but I couldn't call them. I would use my cell to call out. I only wanted to try it to see what the quality of the calls would be , so I signed up for a 3 month subscription. I picked my phone number for the area code closest to most of the people I knew. That way it wouldn't be a long distance call for them. Once your 3 months is up your phone number disappears unless you recharge it before your deadline. When you sign-up for SkypeIn you get caller ID and voicemail. All of this costsaround $15 for 3 months a and $ 40 something for a year.
I have really enjoyed using skype. I started out with just a microphone and speakers, but now I have a Skype phone from IPEVO, which works great. The only thing is that you're tethered to your computer, but that can be fixed by purchasing a cordless VOIP phone. Linksys seems to sell the only one for skype and it's available for $80 something on Amazon.com. I'll probably be getting that one real soon.
The quality of the calls on skype is actually not that bad. I do getsome minor echoing sometimes, but this has happened much less since I've been using skype on my mac mini versus my dell PC. I'm not sure if it really is a difference in computers or if it's just me. Anyway, the occasional echo doesn't bother me much considering the amount of money I pay for the service. I think it comes out to something like $3 or $4 dollars a month. Plus, skype now offers free outgoing calls to all of the US and Canada. It used to be that you had to buy credit to use SkypeOut. Now it is free, unless you call outside of those two countries. Supposedly, this is only until 31 12 2006. So if you want to try it out, then get cracking!! You don't have much to lose and its free calls from skype to skype members. One last thing I'll mention is that you can also buy SkypeIn numbers for other countries. So if you have family in france or japan, you could get a french or japanese number and your family members could make local calls to your SkypeIn number. Awesome, isn't it? I can't wait until they add Italy! My whole family is from there. My parents' phone will be ringing of the hook!

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