by Terry Currier
Iíve known about Skype for a while now, but never really was interested in it since the only person long distance from me is my sister in Florida. I could call her on the cell phone family plan at no cost. Then I tried Skype with the SkyTone phone from Radian Ė you know what, itís kind of cool. The SkyTone phone is just like using a regular phone. Very easy to set up. Plug in the SkyTone phone in to a USB port and put in the provided CD. It has the SkyTone phone program and Skype application. Startup Skype, and choose a Skype contact name. Once setup is done you are ready to make calls. There is a box that comes up and ask you to purchase some Skype time, but you do not have to. Skype to Skype calls are always free regardless where in the world you are. Now until the end of 2006 Skype is offering users free calls to any phone in the United States or Canada. Normally it would cost .02 cents a minute. What made Skype cool for me was both of us being able to use a web cam, so we could see each other.
The SkyTone phone will work on USB 1.1 and 2.0. In fact I have it working on a USB hub with no problems. The phone has sound card ability built in, along with echo cancellation, and noise reduction. I have been using it for a month and had no problems. Calls are very clear.
The USB connection works well since I also installed it onto my notebook, for which the microphone port never worked. I took it to a car dealership and while I waiting for my car I took advantage of their free Wi-Fi to call my sister.
I told a friend whose son was going over to Italy for a month about Skype. She installed it onto her computer and the sonís notebook he took with him. On a previous trip she was calling him with a phone card at 37 cents a minute. With Skype he would go down to a cafť Wi-Fi hot spot, and call his mom from there. She love it because it saved her a lot of money (she talks a lot.) Even if she called him on a regular phone line Skype would only charge 3 cents a minute. The only thing she did not like was his 2 a.m.call. She went to a Target store and brought one of those headphone setup. They do work well for the most part, but she did end up calling me to figure out why it would not work. Turned out she had it plugged into the wrong ports. No problems like that with the USB setup of the SkyTone Phone. The SkyTone Phone come with a one year warranty. Model number: RST101
Recommended System Requirements:
$39.99 at CompUSA
$28.99 at Buy.com
$29.99 at Amazon.com and Target.com
Winners is a member of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG) is an international, platform-independent, nonprofit corporation (incorporated in Washington, DC) devoted to helping user groups throughout the world. Almost 400 user groups are members of APCUG. http://www.apcug.net/