TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Internet Calls Untethered From Your PC

Internet Calls Untethered From Your PC

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 16 Apr 2006 15:52:28 -0400

David Pogue
The New York Times
April 6, 2006

WHY does Skype get so much hype? Sure, this software lets you make
free "phone calls," computer to computer, anywhere in the world. But
it wasn't the first such program, it's not the most feature-laden,
and it's still a mystery to most people over 25.

Yet somehow, Skype is changing everything. Twenty-five million people
are using it to make free calls, much to the annoyance of the phone
companies. College students call home and friends with it. Business
travelers keep in touch with the family. Visitors to the United
States chit-chat with their buddies in Europe, Japan or wherever. The
software -- free from and available for Mac, Windows, Linux
and PocketPC -- is pitifully easy to use, and the sound quality is
more like FM radio than a phone call.

Skype's popularity has caused some impressive ripples in the fabric of
business and society. The word is now a verb, =E0 la Google ("Have
your people Skype my people"). Last fall, eBay bought Skype for $1.3
billion and 32.4 million shares of eBay stock. And most intriguing of
all, an entire industry of Skype accessories has sprung up.

But one niggling footnote continues to dog Skype: to make free calls,
you and your conversation partner must both sit there in front of your
computers, nerdlike, wearing headsets. You can call regular
telephones, but that's not free. (Rates are complicated, but 2.1 cents
a minute is typical.) And you still have to sit handcuffed to your

Wouldn't it be nice if you could make and receive Skype calls from
your home phone or any ordinary cellphone?

Enter the VoSky Call Center ($60 at, nicknamed the
Liberator. (All right, I gave it that nickname, but still.) It's a
tiny black box, about the size of a sandwich, that connects to a
Windows PC (with a U.S.B. cable), to your phone line and to your
telephone. An exceptionally clear instruction sheet walks you through
the installation.

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