Skip to main content

Skype Out

For any of you that haven’t come around to using your PC as a telephone, with Voice over IP (VoIP) with Skype or any similar popular service, it might be time to give it a try.

This morning, as I was reading the papers, my PC “Rang” and it was a business contact from Bahrain. Saturday is a working day there. He had a webcam attached to his PC, which reminded me to turn my own on too, so we had a video conference call, which cost.. well absolutely nothing, as we are both Skype users connected over the internet with VoIP.

When I was in the Middle-east two weeks ago, I took a headset with me and used Skype to make most of my calls to work and home from the hotel lobby, with its wireless network connection. Historically, a visit to the area means that I arrive home to find a huge Vodafone bill and I reckon that simply using VoIP saves me at least £100 on each trip, with my Skype calls being either free, or tiny small if I’m calling out from the PC to a landline or a mobile phone.

The next thing I’m looking for is a Skype handset for the house. I hear that both Tesco and Argos are now doing them. This means of course that the family can use the home wireless network to make free calls over VoIP and I rather wonder what my BT standing line rental charges mean anymore in contrast. Daylight robbery may be another word for it.

So if you want the convenience of free video calls to friends and family in future perhaps it’s time to join the Skype generation? Ultimately, all telephony will go this way by 2010 as BT upgrades its network but by then, companies like Skype will have stolen the ham from between BTs sandwich I suspect!?

Comments

Ben Verwaayen said…
I'd like to draw your attention to another "free" telephone like service which has, I believe, more promise.

Take a look at www.gizmoproject.com

Great thing about this product is that is uses SIP as the connection protocol. Now SIP is short for "session initiation protocol" and is the standard used by virtually all VOiP product providers. Another thing, the instant message capability un Gizmo uses the Jabber standard - allowing better integration with jabber based IM accounts.

The trouble with SKYPE is quite simply the proprietary and private protocols it uses - making it difficult to integrate with other producrs and services. That said, there is a wealth of 3rd parties out there providing add-on products to Skype.

Finally, you can buy an adapter that turns your standard BT compatible phone into something that will plug into a USB port on your PC/MAC thereby allowing you to continue to use the existing equipment in you house. I've also seen standard phones that can be used for both stand landlines and with a key sequence, SKYPE.

When I joined BT ... my strategy was to push Broadband out at a low price that would achieve full market pentration and make up for the inevitable loss of voice revenues. We're getting there!

ps. if anyone has worked out how SKYPE or others can address the 911 legal requirements - please let me know! Until then... there will always be a place for traditional voice.

Popular posts from this blog

Median Saleh

I mentioned in the last post, the 1981 expedition that took in Median Saleh, the ruined Nabatean city in Saudi Arabia


A temple carved from the rock from Petra's sister city.

By coincidence, one of the most important train stations on the Hejaz railway sat next to the ruins and when Lawrence of Arabia blew the line in 1917, the trains were trapped there and are still there today, gathering dust and with "Krupp" on the engine casings.


One of the trains, sitting where T.E. Lawrence left themwith Dr Paul Garnett as the passenger

Below, you can see one of the fortified train stations that Lawrence attacked along the Hejaz railway between Damascus and Medina.



More photos Medain Saleh can be found on THIS Site - Apparently you can catch a tourist bus these days, rather different from risking life and limb to cross an unfriendly Saudi Arabia twenty years ago!
A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

A Matter of Drones - Simon Moores for The Guardian

I have a drone on my airfield” – a statement that welcomes passengers to the latest dimension in air-travel disruption. Words of despair from the chief operating officer of Gatwick airport in the busiest travel week of the year. Elsewhere, many thousands of stranded and inconvenienced passengers turned in frustration to social media in an expression of crowd-sourced outrage.

How could this happen? Why is it still happening over 12 hours after Gatwick’s runways were closed to aircraft, why is an intruder drone – or even two of them – suspended in the bright blue sky above the airport, apparently visible to security staff and police who remain quite unable to locate its source of radio control?

Meanwhile, the UK Civil Aviation Authority, overtaken by both the technology and events, is reduced to sending out desperate tweets warning that an airport incursion is a criminal offence and that drone users should follow their new code of conduct. Yet this is not an unforeseen event. It was i…