NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy. I recently found some new technology that can save a lot of money on long-distance phone calls. I thought I would pass the information on to interested Plus Edition subscribers. If you are looking for genealogy-related articles, I suggest that you skip this one.
I have written before (http://tinyurl.com/ymjwm4) about Skype, the service that allows you to talk around the world from your computer. The basic (free) Skype service allows your Skype-equipped computer to place voice calls to any other Skype-equipped computer in the world, free of charge. You can talk for hours with your relatives in Australia or with your college buddy in Pakistan and never pay a dime for toll calls. That assumes that the people you call also have computers with Skype software installed and connected to the Internet. Skype also offers additional, optional services at modest fees that will connect your computer to old-fashioned telephone lines around the world. If you add one of these optional services, you can call any telephones in the world, even cellular phones, for very low toll call charges.
A coffee shop near me offers free Wi-Fi wireless Internet connections. I often see people there from many counties using laptop computers with headsets plugged in. When I walk by, I notice that many of them are speaking some language other than English. Apparently, they are placing free or low-cost voice calls to "the folks back home." One lady I know talks with her mother in Nanjing, China for about an hour every day! She tells me that she does so free of charge.
One disadvantage of Skype is that you have to use your computer to place calls. In most cases, this means you can only use Skype from home or from the office or from wherever you can connect your laptop to a broadband connection.
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