phone home

[written 10/08/04]

hello and happy friday ~

in an attempt to save some money, i’ve been thinking about dropping my landline (so weird to call it that; i never even knew that term existed till cell phones came along) and getting a cell phone. i use the phone maybe six hours a month on a regular basis, tops. and all those phone calls are to maybe five or six different people. but i still pay over $25 a month for my landline ~ on top of that, my number used to belong to a scamming water heater business and a couple of very in debt people so i get lots of hang ups, creditors, and angry water heater customers calling at all hours of the day. very annoying. a prepaid cell phone, on the other hand, would cost like $60 for the phone itself and then roughly $20 every three months. much better.

one definite problem is that you usually can’t get dsl (much less dial-up) without a phone line (that idea will be ridiculous in a couple of years, i predict) ~ but speakeasy.net, an isp i’ve heard good things about, can somehow get me dsl without a phone line for about the same price i’m paying to earthlink now. excellent.

but then today, i find this: skype.com. get ready, this is pretty amazing stuff: it allows you to call people over your computer. for free. can’t believe i’m quoting michael powell, chairman of the fcc, but here it is: “I knew it was over when I downloaded Skype. When the inventors of KaZaA are distributing for free a little program that you can use to talk to anybody else, and the quality is fantastic, and it’s free – it’s over. The world will change now inevitably.” (fortune magazine, 2/16/04) check out this nytimes article about it (posted on slashdot).

first of all, the application itself is free. then, it’s a great example of p2p that is legal. using skype, i can only call those who have downloaded skype on their computers too, but since i only call a handfull of people, i think i can convince them to do that. besides, there’s also skypeout which allows me to call people on their regular landlines and cellphones from my computer. skypeout costs something, but it looks to be about 2 cents a minute. wait: 2 cents a minute!? and, according to their rates page, i can not only call anywone in the US for 2 cents a minute, but also anyone in Italy, Mexico, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Norway and more at that same 2 cents a minute rate. hmm. sounds too good to be true, but i will test it out this very evening and report back, promise.

the only problem now is calling 911. i don’t think skype would work for that and though i’ve never called 911 (except that time when i was 10 and i called 911 from the bathroom at a chichi’s restaurant because i was bored ~ as soon as the operator picked up, i hung up, adrenalin racing. but then the 911 dispatcher person called back and once she realized there was no emergency, she gave me a long lecture about the evils that can be caused by crank calling 911. funny now, but i was pretty freaked out then.) ..anyhow, though i’ve never called 911, if i don’t have it if/when i do need it, i’ll be pretty pissed off (or dead. yikes). so, more thinking, more research.

(oh, note to savvy techie self: more p2p info here. and drm articles here and here.don’t forget web 2.0 bloging. also think about “In the future, peer-to-peer may be the norm, and we may look back at today’s client-server systems as some sort of weird, unreliable, transitory technology.”)