28 July 2006

My apologies for the prolonged absence. I've been, er, occupied for most of the last month, and then I got waylaid by a tomato. I hate those things.

Anyhow, for reasons that aren't relevant here, I've been alerted to the existence of Skype, a VOIP that lets me call, say, Zambia for a fraction of what calling cards charge. I don't know if anyone else on the blog wants to call Zambia, but it's a pretty good deal.

Anyhow, I just signed up, and it looks like calls to any phone in the US are free for the rest of the year. This is also a pretty good deal. On top of that, Internet-to-internet calls to other Skype users are always free. This has the potential to radically alter my telecommunications posture.

One thing that's funny is they have warnings all over the place that they're not a phone company and you can't make emergency calls through them. Apparently there are laws out there mandating that phone companies provide emergency calling services (i.e. 911), and VOIPs don't want to do it because it costs money (and because if they admit they're phone companies it would open them up to tons of other taxes and regulations). It'll be interesting to see how long they'll be able to skirt the law.

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