Gini Nelson\’s Engaging Conflicts

September 20, 2006

VoIP, Skype and Cyberweek 2006 Teleconferences

Filed under: Business,Wikis and Podcasts and Blogs, Oh My! — Gini @ 5:58 am

You have probably seen television ads or received direct mail advertisements for some of the commercial VoIP offerings, but there is also a free service, Skype. Because it’s free, you can try it out very cheaply, to see if it is a technology you want for your home or office.

VoIP, known as “voice over internet protocol,” allows you to place and receive phone calls (and text and instant messages, and conference calls) over your computer’s internet connection line. I just signed up with Skype last week, and it was easy. First, you need at least a dsl speed internet connection (dial up doesn’t work well); second, you download the free software from the www.skype.com website that allows you to access the program; third, you add the equipment you will use to listen and talk during a phone call – I am using a usb-connection headset with a skype-quality microphone (cost me $40), but I could easily have bought a usb-connected handset phone (also for $40); and, finally, you enter the phone number you are calling, either into the progam in your computer (if you are using a headset) or into the handset of the handset phone, if you are using that. The sound quality can vary, but it seems to be at least as good as that of a cell phone, and is truly excellent in some circumstances.

Skype’s service is free for calls between Skype subscribers, where ever they are — I could talk with another Skype subscriber in another country for as long as I wanted, at no charge to either of us. Normally, calls to ordinary landline or mobile telephones are not free, but you can buy that service from Skype for the cost of a good, cheap long distance calling card. But – and here’s the really fun part – Skype has a promotion going that really makes this the time to try VoIP out. Through December 2006, Skype is providing free calls to ordinary landline and mobile phones (within the US and Canada).

So, for example, you could call in to all three of the Cyberweek 2006 teleconferences on Skype and pay no long distance charges for the calls. Indeed, what a great way to try VoIP at the same time as learning other innovative uses of the internet for conflict resolution!

For way more information about VoIP than you probably want at this time, here’s one detailed resource: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_over_IP.

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