Tag Archives: voip

How to Communicate With Others

When was the last time you actually made a phone call for no other reason than to simply talk to someone? How long ago was it that you sat down and wrote a letter to send through the postal service? These forms of communication were the way we connected with others for many MANY years, and they are apparently a dying art form these days. I admit that I haven’t done either of these things in far longer than I can really remember. There are just too many other ways for me to get ahold of someone, do business with them or reach out to make a connection.

Why would we send a hand-written missive and pay money for a stamp, only to have it arrive several days later – if at all? We can sign into our email program of choice, type out our thoughts and have the completed message show up in the other party’s inbox within seconds… for “free” (not counting the cost you already shell out for your Internet connection).

Even though most of us have cell plans which include unlimited calling (or at least during nights and weekends), it’s still easier to use other means of speaking with others. I’m sitting at my computer working most of the day, so it’s just simpler to click that button on Skype when I need to hear another person’s voice. Heck, I’ll admit it: I don’t much like having to voice chat anyway. If there is business communication to be done, I prefer handling it via email. This allows me to keep track of the prior portions of a conversation for future reference. It also lets me be in control of when I reply.

Using voice communication can actually be a burden. As I just mentioned, you have the burden of being “on” during every moment of a conversation. Your attention shouldn’t wander… you need to focus right then and there. If you’re buried in a project, having to stop and take calls can be a huge downer. With an email, you can put off your response until you have the time to dedicate to the person trying to get your attention.

How do you talk to others? I have a feeling that social networks will actually be near the top of the list for many of you out there, along with email and VOiP services.

Gmail Calling: One Million Served and Counting

In less than twenty-four hours, the new Gmail Calling service has helped connect people more than a million times. The new feature is handsome if you’re contacting someone in Canada or the United States since those calls are totally free. Google is subsidizing those calls through its international rates… which are as low as two cents per minute.

It’s not surprising to most of us that this has spread as quickly as it has. There are millions upon millions of Gmail users all over the world. A large percentage of those people already use the video chat feature. It stands to reason that they’d be checking out a new calling service the second they read the word “FREE.”

Have you tried out the latest Google offering yet? What are your thoughts so far?

Our software center doesn’t give you the power to call anyone. It does, however, help you find the software you need at prices you can live with.

How Do You Make International Calls?

Skype users won’t be shocked to see the numbers released in a recent report by telegeography. The findings show that Skype-to-Skype calls accounted for 13 percent of total International call minutes in 2009. The stats showed that a whopping 54 Billion (out of a total of 406 Billion) International call minutes were done through Skype. Even more interesting is the fact that while overall International telephone traffic has slowed down, Skype’s traffic has been on the rise.

The Skype minutes for last year were generated by 520 million users from 250 different countries. These kinds of numbers give even Facebook a run for its money. While some may scoff at the service, it’s quite clear that it holds a lion’s share of the VoIP users out there.

Are you a Skype aficionado? Have you ever used it to speak with someone in another country?

You won’t need to make any long-distance calls to grab the latest software titles for your computers and mobile devices.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I think that this is the one day of the year where nearly everyone tries to claim they are at least “part” Irish. What better excuse is there to eat some awesome food, drink a lot of green beer, and have a great time on a weekday? I was watching my local news earlier, and they were showing clips from several different local pubs and restaurants. There sure are a lot of Irish people in Seattle! Who knew?

All I know is that I don’t really enjoy green beer. Something about it just kind of creeps me out. Seeing the Chicago River turned green every year is pretty cool though, I must admit! The parades are fun and lighthearted, and I do love a good Corned Beef sammich! I don’t like to be pinched if I’m not wearing green… but it IS quite fun to pinch someone else!

Did you partake in any fun activities today in honor of St. Patty’s Day? What did you do to celebrate?

Don’t forget to check out our software center to see what’s new today!

How Can Companies Hire Social Media Directors?

I came across an interesting link today while browsing Twitter. The author writes about how companies who are new to social media are failing miserably when it comes to writing job descriptions for their newly-created social media positions. He goes on to say he used to blame the companies themselves for writing poorly-constructed ads. Then, he realized that it isn’t the company’s fault at all. They don’t know what they’re doing, remember? They are new to this whole social media scene, and may not even know what it is they are looking FOR, exactly.

How would you suggest a company create a position for this, and market it? What should they look for? How should their ads be worded to be the most effective? I think that the social media experts in our community are the perfect place to get ideas flowing, and help these companies out!

What have you read today that sparked your imagination and interest, or made you stop and think? Make sure you share the links with the rest of us, so we don’t miss out!

Don’t miss our downloads center today! There are some excellent deals for both Windows and Mac people!

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TeamSpeak vs Ventrilo vs Mumble Audio for Gamers


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Voice over IP (or VoIP) is just not going to go away, despite what Wicket wants. It’s not just here for awhile, it’s definitely going to be around. You may have used Skype, or Vonage before to talk to someone. If you have, then you’ve used VoIP. But if you need to talk to several people at once, these are not good choices. What do you use in situations like these?

Some of you use Teamspeak or Ventrilo, and those are both good options. The Mods and I use Ventrilo here on the live stream at times to talk to each other, have conferences, or even let them talk to all of you. Once our Ventrilo license expires, we may just start using this new open source program: Mumble.

Mumble is an open source, low-latency, high quality voice chat software primarily intended for use while gaming. Even though it says it’s “intended” for gaming, it can be used by anyone. It won’t suck up your bandwidth like Skype will. There isn’t much of an interface to Mumble, but it IS clean. And – it’s seriously configurable! Being open source… it’s free to use.

If you’ve used anything else for this type of communication, consider Mumble. It is mature enough to use, and I definitely recommend it.

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What is MagicJack?


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What do you currently use for your phone service? Do you use a traditional land-line company, or something like Vonage? I’ve been using Vonage in my home for a couple of years now. Lately, though, some people were asking me what I thought about MagicJack, so I decided to try it out.

I figured we’d set it up together in this video. After all, the package promises “60 seconds to a lifetime of savings!”. It also talks about having free voice mail, free International calling, and even free local and long-distance. All you need is a phone and a broadband connection.

I actually had to go buy a cheap corded phone, because all of the phones in my house were cordless! I plugged the MagicJack in, and it instantly opened. The little interface told me to click a button to start calling – even while everything was downloading.

Within about 30 seconds, I was ready to register. I entered my email and a password into the program. I was told that following activation I would receive a confirmation email to finish the process. Then, it asked me my name, and approximate location for proper 911 services. After this step, it gave me the option of which area code I wanted to go with for where I live. Then, I could choose any number I wanted. Heck, I could’ve even chosen a number and area code back in Iowa!

I then had to of course agree to the Terms of Service. Don’t do as I did – or didn’t do. Always read your Terms of Service before agreeing! After doing that, I had my very own MagicJack phone number. I didn’t like the giant banner ad in the middle of the dialer though. I guess that’s what we get for having free phone service though.

I plugged the phone it, picked it up and dialed. It went through! That quickly, I called myself! I even answered myself. The sound was pretty clear, as well. I was impressed at this point, for sure. It took no time to set up, and it works!

If you shut down the MagicJack application on your computer, you cannot receive incoming calls. So – keep that in mind! Oh! Cool! There’s a call log! However, I don’t like that the address book cannot coordinate with my address book within my operating system. That would rock! Maybe they can work on that with a future release.

Well, there you go. There’s my opinion on MagicJack. It’s free, it’s simple, and it works. Try it for yourself. You may want to consider this as an alternative to a traditional land-line phone.

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Skype on the iPhone / iPod Touch

This morning, CNET reported that Skype is officially coming to the iPhone in a few days. I’m impressed, but not really thrilled. I usually keep Skype open on my desktop, but prefer to use it for video calls only – which you won’t be able to do on the iPhone, so… whatever. On the other hand, if you’re an iPod Touch user, this is HUGE news.

I asked for your opinions on Twitter a few minutes ago…

chrispirillo: Skype is coming to the iPhone. Is this big news or a big snooze?

about an hour ago

joshcheney: i think BiG news! lol

about an hour ago

MetalHaze: Remember, #Skype only works on 3G #iPhones .

about an hour ago

susanbeebe: Skype VoIP is big news – free calls over 3G, WiFi is cool ! 🙂

about an hour ago

ChickenStudios: Hmm a bit of both, could be useful could just be more clutter for the app store

about an hour ago

INFECTEDPB503: feel asleep at skype…

about an hour ago

DaddyCast: with video would be big

about an hour ago

apabate: travel internationally then ask that question again. Skype is your best friend overseas. Skype on iPhone – FTW all the way!!!

about an hour ago

topicm: it&#39s cool, but would be better if iPhone did video and allowed Skype to use 3G as well (in addition to Wi-Fi)

about an hour ago

michaelg: Skype on iPhone will be very convenient for international travel

about an hour ago

TechFrog: SInce it will only really work during WiFi connection, its moderately #SnoozeNews

about an hour ago

ludovicah: its not news certainly.. people have been bleating about it since yesterday

about an hour ago

geekgiant: Since it&#39s WiFi only, it&#39s kind of a snooze. Will be nice to have native though.

about an hour ago

crackass: big snooze as i don&#39t use Skype and i don&#39t know anyone who does, bar internetz people who i don&#39t speak to!

about an hour ago

RamonNuez: Albeit very cool and don&#39t think it&#39s big news. If you use the fring app then you already have skype.

about an hour ago

BayouBengal56: Skype = snooze for iPhone but win for iPod touch.

about an hour ago

AwesomeRobot: a big snooze for me

about an hour ago

SamBSJA: big snooze!

about an hour ago

EMcCready: as it only works on wifi and I only get it @ home its pretty much snooze, as I could use my house if I wanted to call someone

about an hour ago

JMGubbins: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

about an hour ago

chrisspera: RE: Skype on the iPhone: Snooze. Skype on the iPod Touch: News!

about an hour ago

annimetti: If it works with skype international calling, which I presume is the news, then it&#39s pretty big news. No?

about an hour ago

AngryChad: @chrispirillo: Neither. It&#39s medium level news.

about an hour ago

Fee501st: Wake me when you can use it on edge/3G

about an hour ago

Neonez: big news!

about an hour ago

richgilberto: It&#39s big news if the iPod touch gets a standard earpiece/mic config attachment.

about an hour ago

tommycarlier: As long as the Belgian mobile market is what it is, I&#39m not using a lot of mobile online applications on my WinMobile device.

about an hour ago

TheRubberband: It would be awesome news if all iPhone users got on board.

about an hour ago

jaredatch: about damn time, but still big news!

about an hour ago

TheBorzoi: There were already a few Skype apps for iPhone. I know quite a few people that have been using them.

about an hour ago

tomacintosh: an absolute snooze to me

about an hour ago

martinjon: International calls on every iPhone – thats news I think – I&#39ve used a MYLO for years for that sort of access = NEWS

about an hour ago

muppetaphrodite: If Skype were coming to the iPod Touch, that&#39d be a big deal. But we iPhone users are stuck with too many minutes anyway.

about an hour ago

atothebed: This is very exciting! I would potentially use Skype on my iPhone …but I&#39d rather have MSN make an official app first!

about an hour ago

tpbtpb: medium news, if it works.

about an hour ago

AndersHa: for me: big news. Skype is the future!

about an hour ago

harrysaxon23: Snooze, at least up in Vancouver, since voice chat only works over wi-fi, which is generally hard to find outside your home.

about an hour ago

thekiwiguy: snooze..Fringe client has been around 4 a while,and its “good”. without a front cam, & videocam iphone is crippled for this..

about an hour ago

victoria0918: Big news is when the iPhone is sold unlocked for user option on which provider to use.

about an hour ago

RandyNieland: Huge news! Skype is the first crack in the AT&T exclusivity armor, as far as placing “calls” from the iPhone (and iPod Touch)

about an hour ago

kpslover007: I hear it is controversial. I think that it will be a good move.

about an hour ago

marcoscmartins: like Fring, I think is the same old history… wasn&#39t enough. If voice signal still clear, should be nice, but I doubt.

about an hour ago

tristanlueking: Big news! been waiting for it for awhile. The question is, will it measure up to expectations?

about an hour ago

laurentmeyvaert: I think it&#39s big news. I&#39ve been waiting for it since the start of the App Store. I prefer the real thing 🙂

about an hour ago

JustinCarmony: Depends on if and how easy I can make Skype calls with it.

about an hour ago

bdegrande: Skype is really big news for those of us with an iPod Touch. Not the first VOIP app, but I hope it&#39s the best.

about an hour ago

Condawg: Big news, in my opinion. Especially if it&#39s for the Touch, too. Cheaper calls. Much cheaper calls. Hell yeah.

about an hour ago

Mpieters: big news…but only useful post iphone 3.0 – my writeup at http://www.mpieters.com

about an hour ago

Kennethturner: big news to the people who goes over their minutes and make international calls

about an hour ago

tgarlanger: I&#39m wondering how great Skype is going to be on the iPhone as well.

about an hour ago

tialoc: would be nice to have access to skype contacts. May use at hotspots but otherwise.. Zzzzz. ..

about an hour ago

notsleepy: big news to me. Avoid huge bills when travelling overseas

about an hour ago

lmdupont: it would be big news if it worked on g3 but it requires wifi

about an hour ago

GourleyGirl: tiny little screen, fuzzy connection..hmmm..sounds frustrating. But being able to see your people from anywhere, I like that.

about an hour ago

steveofmaine: Well, it&#39s bigger news than cut and paste IMO.

about 58 minutes ago

davepope: The big news would be that that means it&#39s coming to the iPod Touch as well…

about 57 minutes ago

zargam: nothing shocking to me..lol

about 56 minutes ago

patrickem: Skype to iPhone = snooze

about 55 minutes ago

kevinkinnett: it is the eventual future of voice communication (just another type of data service) this is one important step along the way

about 51 minutes ago

foleymo: Hey Chris, Have you heard about this? http://bit.ly/NjTm

about 44 minutes ago

BuayaGuy: what if Skype + iPhone = call online around the world for free or low cost?

about 44 minutes ago

iPhoneFTW: CHRIS UR AWESOME and hilarious watched u when u used to b on tv and still watch u now i also sub, macs are awesome eh?

about 44 minutes ago

iPhoneFTW: hey chris what do u think of the new iPhone OS 3.0 i think its awesome CUT COPY PASTE!!!

about 42 minutes ago

Crinklex2: Truphone and Fring already have Skype built in correct? Plus new Skype app can only be used via WiFi. I say big snooze.

about 38 minutes ago

iPhoneFTW: i think its gonna be an interesting app

about 37 minutes ago

joeyv: – depends on how well their app works, I am impressed with the latest update, on windows atleast.

about 37 minutes ago

Crinklex2: Of course that won&#39t stop me from downloading the Skype app and trying it out. You know, the tech geek thing in me and all…

about 36 minutes ago

TimBrazer: skype for iPhone? Big Snooze! Fring is available too…

about 34 minutes ago

stemount: Skype on the iPhone is ok but Fring already does it, but I would think it would be better UI but still only wi-fi calls 🙁

about 33 minutes ago

unclelouie9841: I think it is a bigger deal for people with iPod Touches than for iPhone users.

about 33 minutes ago

melanieruth78: if it&#39s still free, then it&#39s big. Otherwise it&#39s not.

about 32 minutes ago

Are There Extensions for Cell Phones in Your Home?

Ronni was a speaker at Gnomedex last year. She is one amazing lady, and a good friend. She has an excellent question, sent to me recently via email. Sadly, I don’t have the answer. However, I’m hoping one of you out there will know if there’s something like what she’s looking for.

Since you are my guru for all things technology or vaguely related, I’ve got a question for you:

I use a VoIP service for my home telephone. I have one base phone with two extensions so I don’t need to run the length of the apartment when someone calls. I also have a cell phone.

Cell reception is so good in my neighborhood, I don’t really need to be paying $300 a year for the VoIP service. But if I cancel it, I’m stuck with one cell phone and who knows where it might be when it rings. I have trouble remembering to stick it in my pocketbook when I leave the house, and I certainly wouldn’t remember to take it with to the bedroom at night or wherever else in the house I’m going to be for awhile. Plus, I don’t see the point of having two telephone numbers these days.

So here’s what I’m wondering:

Is there such a thing as an internal network for cell phones that combines with normal extension handsets? Maybe a box of some sort connected through the landline jacks that most homes have already installed? I can’t imagine that this doesn’t exist, and it would be particularly useful for women whose clothes don’t often have pockets like men’s clothing, so it’s not easy to keep a cell phone with you all the time.

Or maybe there’s another solution…

Perhaps you’ve addressed something like this in one of your videos that I’ve missed, or maybe you could do so if you haven’t.

I hope you and Ponzi are well,
Ronni

Come on Geeks. Ronni is right… there has to be something out there that can help her. What have you come across that may fit the bill?

How to Fax over VoIP on the Internet

Brightstar wrote: “I keep hearing about how hard it is for faxes to work through VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). I’ve prepared a top five list of things you can do to make sure your faxes have the best chance of going through.”

  • Set your baud rate to 9600 and turn off Error Correction Mode. The slower your fax goes, the more likely it is to go through without errors. Most VoIP providers are unable to support the default baud of 33600 baud due to the amount of data that has to go through. Error Correction Mode was designed for faxing PSTN to PSTN. Voice over IP often has extra noise added due to jitter instabilities in the connection as it travels from one fax to another. This causes false positives for Error Correction Mode because it will cause the fax to loop over and over trying to fix these noise errors, when it can’t be fixed. This will end in a communication error usually.
  • Use a provider that supports T.38 – T.38 is an audio codec designed for faxing over VoIP. it allows for more detail and better looking images as well as stability by creating redundancy in the RTP stream.
  • Set your packetization to 10 milliseconds or less. The more header there is in the stream, the less likely jitter and instabilities in your internet connection are going to cause a synchronization error. (You may need to contact your provider to make this happen if your box is locked, such as if you use Vonage.)
  • Keep on top of your ISP. Stability in your Internet connection are paramount in making sure that faxes are successful. Speed tests can help you track this. Look for an advanced speed test that offers more than just and upload and download speed. A personal favorite of mine is located at MyVoipSpeed (Note: An up to date Java version is required) which is really nice because once you’re done, you can click on the detailed analysis link and then call up your ISP and give them the URL for the test so they can see what’s going on.
  • When all else fails, call your VoIP provider. There may be issues in the routing of your calls that are causing problems. Only your VoIP provider’s call processing team will be able to fix this kind of thing. Have your provider test from a PSTN line and then their own VoIP line. If they can send through PSTN but not their own VoIP line, it’s a routing issue on their own end.
  • Bonus Tip! Don’t even think about faxing using Voice over IP on a satellite or wireless connection. These kinds of connections are too unpredictable, and add a huge amount of latency that will make it impossible for fax machines to sync up properly.