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Skype - Internet telephony app with free LD calls
Authored by: steresi on May 22, '06 03:05:58PM
I can attest to the feasibility of using Skype (and signing up for the now-free SkypeOut) as a replacement for a telephone. I haven't had a telephone line for almost a year now. To save minutes on my cell phone, I make all my calls during the day using Skype. I almost never have a sound quality problem or connection issue. It's probably similar in quality-of-service to a good cell phone. When Skype starts charging for SkypeOut again (calls to land lines) at the end of the year, it's only $1.20 an hour or so within the U.S., probably still a better deal for many people than paying at least $25 a month for a phone.

Things to consider: you should have a fast computer (Skype is processor intensive) and a fast network connection. You can use any audio input source, but you'll want to buy something that makes things easy, like a Logitech USB headset ($25). People can't call YOU, unless they're running Skype too or you sign up for SkypeIn which is about $4 a month, or you use a regular phone or cell phone for incoming calls. Finally, you usually have to be near the computer to use Skype. There's two ways around that... you could get a bluetooth headset, but the range isn't very far. Or you can hook a regular portable phone into your computer with a special adapter. Some people have hooked the phone line for their entire house into the computer, and then you're able to use all the phones in your house for incoming and outgoing Skype calls!

One other nice thing about Skype is it's pretty easy to record your phone calls. Ecamm Network just came out with Call Recorder, a plug-in specifically for Skype. Before that you could use something like Wiretap Pro or (with more difficulty) Audio Hijack.


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