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Skype – A Great VOIP Application

Skype is one of the first programs on the Internet that takes advantage of VOIP technology.  What is VOIP?  In short, it is the transmission of voice from PC to PC (or even PC to phone and vice versa) using the Internet.

Did you know that the creators of Skype were also the same guys who had started the P2P network from Kazaa?  In fact, the Kazaa network gave them the knowledge they needed to build upon it and use Skype as the next platform using the same P2P concept.

Skype is zero configuration. All you need to do is create a Skype account, add your friends, and just hit the call button! In fact, you can get into conference call with your Skype buddies up to 8 (or is it 16) or so members and have a conversation.  The voice clarity is surprisingly clear, and its better than any teamspeak or ventrillo chat.

Once you Skype, there is no turning back. One of the great uses of Skype is to not only call friends, but also getting in touch with those who live far away.  For example, I can call my friend in Skype who lives in Australia, and don’t have to worry about paying long distance fees!  PC to PC communication is free, and now you can get it for various smart phones to have the Skype program installed.

If you want to talk underground, you can even reach me. My Skype username is versatileninja.  Sometimes it is just easier to talk about the concept rather than type everything out by hand.

Before you get Skype, I highly recommend you use a headset!  Sure, you can get one of those Skype USB phones, or a desktop mic, but it is not as convenient as a regular headset or even a bluetooth headset!  Last night there were three of us online (Hail2King, Voltaire, and myself), and unfortunately Hail had lent his headset to his brother.  Voltaire and I were on Skype, and we tried to go around using Gizmo to add Hail into the conference call so we could hear him speak, but in short it was not worth the effort, nor did it work as planned.

It is funny that as simple as having a headset avaialble would enable all three of us to talk at the same time without having to go through hoops, but sometimes if you have lemons, life doesn’t want to give you lemonades. 

Do you have Skype? Maybe another different VOIP application?  Let us know what you think about it!

How Useful Is Google Voice? Enough to Make Free VoIP Calls.

When I first heard of Google Voice, I had NO clue what this was all about. Nada. I slowly found out information through the various postings online, then was finally moved to make an account. But then I started thinking. How useful can Google Voice really be for someone like me? Most people I know use a phone. Not an iPhone or an Android phone, but a regular phone. Some with unlimited texting, some without. What benefits are we (or just me) getting here? If I want to make a phone call, why would I ever want to make it through Google Voice if I could just dial away on my cell phone?

But then I found out that you could send free text messages. Hooray! That’s useful. But then I realized, it’s only free if its not forwarded to your mobile device. Ok, so I disabled my phone in the gVoice settings, but now what? I’m getting free texts, but only when I have wifi. So what else can I do with this thing? I don’t have a lot of phones that I want to sync with 1 number. I don’t get too many voicemails. Nor do I have a serious need to screen calls. And I don’t change my number, so this “universal” number isn’t a big deal.

But then I found something that would make this whole deal a little more worthwhile. Free calling from a computer. As a heavy computer user, making free calls from my computer would save a whole lot of time, plus it would allow me to keep my hands free off an actual phone. Can’t use bluetooth all the time, needs some recharging, plus my phones are never around when I need it.

Here’s how:

1) Make a Google Voice account. Then head over to and sign up for an account there.

2) After signing up for Gizmo, you can download the software if you so choose (I did, but you can make calls via a web browser.) Then go to, go to the settings page, enter your gVoice number, and enable the gVoice setting.

3) Scroll down and copy your gizmo SIP number. You won’t need to ever use this number again, just copy it for now. Go back to and set up a new phone via the settings tab. Use the SIP number from gizmo and set the phone type to gizmo.

4) Follow the standard Google Voice procedures to enable the gizmo phone. I downloaded the software, so it was easy to use the num keypad to enter the confirmation number.

5) Now you can go to to test your mic, or use the gizmo program itself.

Here’s how to place a call using the Gizmo program.

Start the Gizmo program, and log into it. Then go to the gVoice page. Place a call like normal, but use the Gizmo phone instead of your normal phone. The Gizmo program should then ring, pick up and follow the standard gVoice phone call procedure.

Do NOT place a call in the Gizmo program itself, you will be charged. Make all calls via the gVoice site. Also, any calls made to your gVoice number will ring your Gizmo program, so you can leave it open if you want to receive calls.

And that’s it! For support, contact us or go to Lifehacker.