Kill your telephone

Tonight I tried Skype for the first time, and I’m impressed. It has excellent voice quality, using full-spectrum sound as opposed to the ~2.5KHz band of a normal telephone. We had a few drops but not any worse than my cell phone. If you can get used to talking to your computer instead of a phone handset, this can replace the phone for a lot of situations. Oh, and it’s free. As far as I can tell, though, Skype does not encrypt the voice channels so I wouldn’t use it for sensitive communications.

5 thoughts on “Kill your telephone

  1. Just curious: what is your technical setup at home? Do you do DSL? And if so, doesn’t that mean that you have to keep a phone line? Is it possible to have a phone line provisioned for DSL and not pay for it as a “regular” line?
    I’m not being contrary — just looking for ways to f the phone company, who charges me way too much money to call Jim and comment on your blog.

  2. We do cable. When we first moved in I had DSL for a while, but it was the slower IDSL variety since our loop was too long for ADSL. Then we had a couple of providers go out of business, and then Earthlink took over and decided they didn’t want to do IDSL. So we switched to Comcast cable and I’ve been very pleased. We still have normal phone service but I agree that it’s expensive. Every once in a while I think about dropping it for one of the VoIP providers or just going straight cell phone, but the 911 thing is still a dealbreaker for me. Anyway, this is a long way of saying that I don’t know if you can have DSL without basic phone service.
    Skype isn’t really a phone replacement (yet). Unless you’re close enough to your computer to hear it ring, and are willing to sit at the computer during the call, you’ll still like your cordless phone. People can’t use a regular phone to call a Skype user, but you can “Skype out” (pay service) to call from Skype to a land line or cell phone.

  3. Thanks! Comcast out here offers something called “digital phone” as well as internet and cable service — I’m both scared and attracted to bundling like this. Scared because of The Man Knowing About Me Or Something, and attracted because it’s so neat and organized. And maybe costs less. But getting there would involve cancelling things and getting new equipment… I’ll have to think about it some more.
    One other thing I wanted to tell you and Tim about was a website written by this incredibly ascerbic person all about his toddler’s development, and it is (IMHO) super-hilarious. I think you would like it.
    “The Story About the Baby” is actually very funny too, so check that out if you have time.

  4. Sorry — on that URL I sent you, note that you click on “The Story of the Toddler” to get the rest of the chapters. Probably obvious, yes yes yes.

  5. If you want a plug-in replacement for your land lines, try Vonage and Packet8.
    Both are excellent and allow you to call without using a computer. At $19.95 a month or $24.95 for unlimited US and Canadian calling it is an incredible deal. I replaced our three Sprint lines and saved $250/month.

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