Journal: News & Comment

Friday, November 14, 2003
# 12:02:00 PM:

VoIP phones coming on strong

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Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News is teaching a course in Hong Kong right now, but his editors in California don't have to pay long distance to phone him, because he's using Voice over IP (VoIP):

When I arrived at my temporary Hong Kong apartment, which has a high-speed data connection, I had some configuring to do. [In the end,] I plugged the phone—a regular old telephone—into to the box.

Voila. I had a fast surfing connection. And I had a phone with which I could make no-charge calls inside the United States—and on which people could call me using my California number.

It gets better. I'm going to buy a stored-value "SIM card" to have a local Hong Kong number for my mobile phone. When I leave the apartment I'll forward the VoIP calls to that number.

I wrote about a similar technology demonstration on Kitsilano Beach here in Vancouver this past summer.

My longtime friend Bill Dobie, who's president and main salesperson for the software company I'm doing work for right now, travels a lot—he's in Washington, D.C. now, and will be in Houston next week, then Hong Kong and maybe London. He could use a service like that, because no matter how much you use e-mail and instant messaging, sometimes it's best just to talk to someone.


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