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Ultra, Ultra Cheap Phone Calls

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Hey Folks,

Today my stepmother sent me an Email and told me to check out something called Skype. It's a free internet calling method. If someone has the program - anywhere in the world - you can call them and talk for as long as you want for free. She said she'd called her cousin in Geneva, who's on Skype, and they talked to each other for darned near an hour - longer than the sum total of all the calls they've made to each other in 10 years.

I was skeptical. I tried one of these a few years ago with something called Net2phone. It sucked and was pretty danged complicated to download and operate. I gave this a try anyway.

Well, it works and it was pretty good at that! It took me about 3 minutes to download the program, install it and add my Dad's email as a contact and call her. That's not too bad when you realize that I'm a computer moron who can barely find the on/off switch on this thing.

Call quality is about as good as a normal phone. Using the old duplex headphone I got from Net2phone I could hear them very clearly - more clearly in fact than with my regular phone. They said that I was coming in perfect on their end, without any distortion and any of the delay that I used to get with Net2Phone.

However, clear as it was, it sounded like they were in a big room 'cuz there was sort of an echo like you hear when you're speaking to someone in a big open enclosed space. I think that might have been because she was using a desk mike and speakers and I was using a headset. The sound was like you hear when the person on the other end puts you on a speaker. I didn't think to get her to try a headset. I'll have to do that next time.

At first I could barely hear the speaker ringing when sitting in front of the computer and knew it would be impossible to hear in the other room. It took me a while to figure out that with the headphone plugged in the desk speakers are nearly muted, so I unplugged them. That did the trick, now with the headphones unplugged the desk speaker rings through nice and loud and can be heard all the way on the other side of the house. That's good for me 'cuz I've got lousy hearing.

Not bad for something which is free. My wife spends literally dozens of hours on the phone every month chatting with her sister in New Jersey or her various family members in Korea and it's cost me a small fortune. Now all I have to do is get all of them who've got broadband to get on this and I'll probably save a few thousand a year.

I'm still exploring all of the feature, but it looks to me like I can do a conference call on this thing with up to 4 people. If so, if I can get three more of you guys on this thing, we might be able to sit around and jaw real time some night.

Check it out at http://www.skype.com . If you upload the program and want to try it out, give me a shout. I registered it with my wife's user name Ji-Yung, so just call user name Ji-Yung or you can just put in my email - hausdok@msn.com - and it will search for her and pull up her user name. Then just add it to your phone list and you can give me a shout.

Man I love to find free sh**!

Have fun!



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