Other posts related to skype

Next Phone?

 | November 15, 2008 5:12 PM

Phone technology keeps evolving rapidly.  As far as I can remember we have been using landline phones.  The big technology change was push button phones.  Then suddenly cell phones appeared and I must have been one of the last ones to get one.

But I was part of the early group of people that dropped their landline altogether and only used their cell phone.  But when I saw I was running out of minutes and was too cheap to purchase more minutes or a landline, I started using Skype.  The service is fantastic and is only $3 per month for unlimited outbound.

Now though we are having problems with our Verizon cell phone service.  Apparently where we live is a dead zone for Verizon.  In fact we did not get very good reception at our last place either.  Unlike the north east, Silicon Valley does not seem to be a great place for getting Verizon cell phone service.

We have been considering cutting down to one cell phone line instead of two which would save us about 50% off our cell phone bill or even paring down to just a pay as you go plan.  Since we started using Skype so much we’ve found our cell phone usage has gone down a lot.  Also I do have concern about cell phones and brain cancer since the evidence is starting to mount.

The only reason we were hesitant to go with Skype exclusively was because Ji Seon does not like being tethered to a computer when she wants to make calls.  She likes walking around when she talks.  And so far the Skype accessories for doing this look underwhelming.

Enter Ooma.  I heard about them on the radio so I thought I would look into it.  The reviews on Amazon have been pretty fantastic.  Basically you pay $250 for a device that you hook up to your internet.  Then you can your old fashioned phones again and never have to pay a monthly fee.  The only drawback is that it does not include free calls to Canada, calls are 1.2 cents per minute.  In a normal month that would work out to be about $3 per month which is what I pay already for Skype.

One of my favorite blogs, My Money Blog, has a similar discussion, Ask The Readers: Skype As Replacement Phone Service? » My Money Blog.  Someone recommended Ooma.  I can only imagine Ooma will become more popular.

My remaining questions are:

  1. Should I drop Verizon?  I have complained a few times to them about the service and each time they say to call in again and have someone test it.  I am not sure if it is worth calling them again.Update: I called Verizon and their response was that nothing can be done and that it must be a dead zone.  They issued me a one time courtesy credit of $30 and opened a trouble ticket.Update: Verizon called me to let me know that my area is a known trouble area and that new two cell towers are going to be opened in thirty to sixty days.  Of course while telling me this the call was dropped. 🙂
  2. Should I drop down to one phone line (AT&T or T-Mobile) or go to pay as you go (T-Mobile)?  I am leaning towards pay as you go in which I will pay about $100 per year for 1000 minutes.  On the other hand a basic individual cell phone plan will cost $35 per month (T-Mobile) and you get 300 minutes per month and a much nicer phone.
  3. Should I upgrade my Skype account to include unlimited inbound?  The cost to do that would be another $5 per month and the inbound number would not show up on caller ID when I call people on outbound.  And I would still have to make calls from my computer.
  4. Should I buy Ooma?  It seems great but $250 at once is a good amount of money and what if they go out of business?  If they included free calls to Canada I would be in.  You do get a $50 credit for referrals but that expires in 3 months so it is not worth much.
  5. What would I use to call Canada if I no longer used Skype?  Pay 1.2 cents per minute on Ooma? Use a free service like Voipcheap to call Canada (I don’t trust them)?  Or just use Skype computer to computer or iChat, both which are free?  But then that would depend on my parents having their computer on.  I do have lots of Skype credit for calls to landlines so maybe I can use those to initiate a call to my parents at 2.1 cents per minute and then use Skype computer to computer or iChat.

iCall not ready

 | June 30, 2008 9:18 PM

iCallI was enticed to try out iCall because it is coming out with an application for making free VoIP phone calls using your iPhone. However I could not even configure the iCall client, it was so buggy. I could not uninstall the program fast enough. I will stick with Skype Pro.


Logitech ClearChat wireless headsetCurrently I use the Logitech USB Desktop Microphone with Skype and it works very well but sometimes people complain of feedback. It would be better to have a headset with the microphone right by my mouth. I don’t actually care for the headphones, I prefer listening through the computer speakers. What’s neat about this headset which wasn’t around when I was looking at headsets is that the microphone glows red when you are muted.  Wonder why they didn’t choose to use Bluetooth?

Wireless Headset for Internet Phone Calls
Published: March 27, 2008

The Logitech ClearChat wireless headset broadcasts over the 2.4-gigahertz band, just like many portable phones.


Skype Pro

 | February 11, 2008 11:18 AM

Previously I blogged about how pleased I was with Skype Unlimited ($29.95 per year, I missed by 10 days the introductory price of $14.95) for making calls to anyone in the U.S. and Canada. Unfortunately that ended on February 10, 2008.  My only choice was Skype Pro since Skype Unlimited is no longer available.

Skype Pro is 20% more expensive, $3 per month, than Skype Unlimited and it has more features but I won’t be really using the new features much. Still it seems like a better deal than anything else I know of out there.

One of the Skype Pro features I may use is Skype To Go.  With Skype To Go I can call Canada from my cell phone through a Skype gateway.  There is no connection fee for calls that originate in the U.S. or Canada and the rate is 2.1 cents per minute to Canada which is a lot cheaper than the 40 cents per minute Verizon charges.

Another Skype Pro feature I enabled is call transferring.  This features allows people to call my Skype account and if I am not on Skype the call will transfer to my cell phone.  This way someone like my parents in Toronto can reach me without having to make a long distance call.


SightSpeed, Skype, iChat, ooVoo

 | January 28, 2008 8:08 PM

A friend of mine has been using SightSpeed and my initial reaction when I heard this is “What is that? Can’t be as good as Skype.”

Well after doing some research it seems like SightSpeed is actually better for video chat. What really attracts me is that it has apparently excellent quality even at low bandwidth. I have already had first hand experience of how bad the quality is at low bandwidth when using iChat.

Here is a comparison of SightSpeed, Skype, and ooVoo (another one I’ve never heard of before). SightSpeed, ooVoo and Skype – the Comparison

This blog article, SightSpeed – an alternative to iChat, comes out in favor of SightSpeed. Admittedly this article is an old one, seems most of the articles are from 2006 when SightSpeed made a big splash.

I guess the best way to find out is to install the different clients and see which one works best for video chat. For audio chat I am still hooked on Skype, its $30 per year service for unlimited calls to anywhere in the U.S. or Canada is just awesome.