Free phone calls

Free phone calls

Robin Good and I just concluded a half-hour conversation. Robin was in Italy, I in California. The quality and timing were as good as if I were calling my neighbors. Since we were talking over the net instead of one the phone, our call, like so many things on the net, was free for the asking.

In fact, our Voice-over-IP (VoIP) connection was better than a standard phone call in several ways. First of all, before calling, I could check to see if Robin was available to talk. With this technology, you never need receive a busy signal. Second, during the call I asked for a URL. Robin keyed in it and it popped up on my screen; an instant messenger is always available during a call.

Robin and I used Skype (rhymes with "hype"), a free download that installs in a couple of minutes. Only one caveat: You must have a broadband connection for Skype to work. Robin finds Skype a breakthrough technology because of its simplicity, feature-set, and transmission quality. His review:

Why do we keep paying the phone companies for something we can get for free?

  1. We haven't reached critical mass. The more people who come on board, the more valuable the service.
  2. Old habits die hard. Twenty years ago, executives did not sit at computers because typing was woman's work.
  3. Ignorance.

Robin Good is Mr. Online Collaboration. He spends more than half his time online and probably knows more about online collaboration tools than anyone else on the planet. The Robin Good/Robin Hood connection is apt, for he shares lots of information on his sites: Kolabora and Master New Media.

If you're like me, a little fuzzy about the differences between all the collaborative software that's appearing on the market, you may want to attend Robin's free event Thursday, April 22. He tells me he'll pick several products, do a side-by-side comparison, open the discussion for lots of live questions/opinions, and conclude with a new form of survey. Should be fun. Admission is free to the live session; a recording will set you back thirty or forty bucks.

Posted by Jay Cross at April 9, 2004 10:20 AM | TrackBack

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