Skype, Gizmo, etc

So… assuming I wind up working in Dublin in the near, I’ll likely be in the market for cheap phone calls between Ireland and the UK, in both directions. One option is, of course, Skype – the SkypeOut and SkypeIn possibilities both look like they may be useful (the former allows PC-to-landline calls, the latter the reverse).

Or… there’s Gizmo. Anyone have any experience with doing these? I mean, really doing these? Well, obviously, millions of people have, and I’ve used PC-to-PC Skype briefly myself (great sound quality – rubbish echo cancellation, both compared to iChat AV).

How well do they really integrate with old-fashioned telephones? Voice chat tends to have rather poor latency by modern phone standards – how distracting is it? And do people ‘get it’? Or do you end up spending so long explaining the concept to your family, you might as well just give them your mobile number and be done with it?


  1. I opted for a SkypeIn number when I was in Bangkok last month, as my previous visit had cost me a fortune from people calling me on my mobile phone. In practice I didn’t get many calls, but it was a handy way of picking up voicemail and seems to work ok. For making calls I bought an Ipevo handset (this one) for making calls and it’s pretty good – and works flawlessly with my PowerBook. The call quality really depended upon the network I was on (free WiFi in hotel lobby bad, costly wired ethernet in hotel room ok), and the time of day or weather (it would seem), but mostly wasn’t worse than an intercontinental mobile roaming call.

  2. I’ve been trying to use Skype [-Out, -In, -Up, -Along,] with my brother in South Africa and either he gets delays that would make a Huston Capcom break a sweat, or I do. Makes for interesting non sequiturs though. [works fine between here and Tadcaster, but then so does the phone] Overall not too impressed – but then I might not have pressed the right buttons.

  3. Further to this, I was just informed that the Skype Beta with Video for Mac OS X is available. I haven’t tried it, but a colleague has, with some success.

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