Our Life With Voip/Skype

This is a record of our experience with voip. We are transitioning to voip from traditional phone lines and would like to document the changes and experience associated with this change so that others can see for themselves what to expect. We were stuck with one local telephone company and now it's time to give them the boot.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

We are still skyping!

I know it's been a while but the new smell seems to have worn off. We still love talking about skype to our family and friends. It just seems sort of normal now to use skype just like a regular telephone. We have noticed some numbers are a little difficult to get through to via skype though. Comcast is almost never able to connect through skype. Some of our relatives that live in town have difficulty getting through. When they do get through the connection is crap. I have a hunch that somehow our local telephone company may be blocking some of these calls or somewhere down the line some telephone company has figured a way to block some voip users from getting through to some critical numbers. This all sounds a little too much like a conspiracy theory though. I'm going to do some looking around on the net to see if any of these theories pan out. We still love the low fees that skype charges for calls. We still like the fact that we can talk to fellow skype users clear across the world for free including my Mom who recently moved to Florida. Yep, no charge to call her and she has a laptop loaded with the skype software also. She's able to talk to her kids through her laptop that has her own skype out/in number. She's working on getting a web cam so that we can see what her new place looks like in real time. It almost seems like the Jetsons or something. Well, time to go and thanks for keeping in touch. Don't forget to head on over to The Skype Family frappr map.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

$21.32 to start off the New Year with.

Happy New Year! We start off 2006 with $21.32 worth of Skype credit. That's using approximately $27.00 worth of credits since October 19, 2005. With our current broadband package (highest speed available to us is 8 Megs download package from Comcast...pretty fast! $52.95 per Month) + average skype usage (average of .36 a day x 30 days) = $63.95 Per Month. Our local telephone service was around $110 approximately within 5$ or $10 depending on 411 calls and long distance for the month. The savings on a yearly average is approximately $552.00.

That's not all. If you add voicemail (premium service holds 40 messages at once...$7.00), call waiting (1.50), call forwarding ($1.50), three way calling ($2.50), do not disturb ($2.00), speed calling 8 list ($1.50), speed calling 30 list ($3.00), call screening ($3.00), selective call acceptance ($3.00), and unidentified call rejection ($3.50). You get the picture! When you are faced with these choices what else is a person to do? Sure you get a discount of .50 a month per feature if you order 3 or more...and more than likely not all phone companies charge these rates on all of these features. I think it's obvious why more and more people are making the switch to pc based calling don't you?!

If you want to check out our old phone company rates for their dsl and feature prices click here.

Check out our Frappr!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

My final blog post...for 2005!

I'm glad I made the switch. That pretty much summarizes my decision to switch from our telephone company to voip/skype. It's just cool. I like explaining to people the way we did it and what we did. I get alot of blank looks on some faces. Not a whole lot of people around here know too much about computers and what the heck a voip or a skype is exactly!!! Explaining the whole move to internet telephony and how much we save every year comes out I'm sure like I'm talking about Amway, politics, or religion. I get excited when I talk about it. Then I tell them I don't work for Skype. Could have fooled us!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Friday, December 16, 2005

WE GOT IT!!! $139.09 w/$15 Mail in rebate 60 free skype out minutes too!

YES! I drove about 35 minutes to a Radio Shack to get the Linksys Skype Phone CIT200. I know I'm the only one excited about this. The phone rocks though! It's simple to set up. I did make a few phone calls with it already. The calls went smooth and I WALKED around with it. I don't have to sit at the ole computer anymore. Very nice product. I have to hand it to Skype and Linksys on this one. Nice! I will probably get an extra handset in the future...but not anytime soon! Very wise purchase if you are considering going cordless with Skype.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

One Big Happy Skype Family

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Coming Soon!

That's right! I want this phone. We will be upgrading our Ipevo Touch-1 usb phone for the Linksys Skype Phone shown here. I've read a good review here and I decided to get it early January.
I will be posting an audio blog entry for the call quality so you can judge for yourself.

I am looking for anybody who has some experience with this phone if you could drop me a line or an email to let me know how you like your phone.

By the way...my girls love the new phone line.
Check out Skype

$28.35 and now Skype Groups.

I did something this morning that made my two daughters very happy. I signed them up with the Skpe-out, Skype-in, and voicemail. They now have their own telephone number and their own Ipevo touch-1 usb phone. We went over the rules and how to's this morning. They were so happy. They even recorded their own voicemail message greeting together. Now, no more waiting to use the phone and no waiting for the local telephone company to run an extra line which would have cost us around another hundred bucks for the labor and extra fees every month. They have all the features of a regular phone on their computer including voicemail. That's so that they don't miss any calls from their friends you know. Skype made it so easy too! It took me around 15 minutes navigating to different pages within Skype groups to get everything set up. They have around $11.00 worth of skype-out credits. Lets see how long that lasts.
This is just one more example of how we dodged the local telephone company here. Before we got Skype, we were going to get a second line anyway and I get more Cool Dad points.
Check out Skype

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

$31.81 and something new I tried with Skype.

It was a good Thanksgiving for us. We made quite a few phone calls and now we are at $31.81. I ate too much.

I went over to Mom's house and tuned up her pc. She has skype so I logged out and logged in with my username and password. Well a few seconds later I was able to listen to my messages and I was able to make some skypeout calls from Mom's computer. That was so cool. I was able to let my calls follow me and check my voicemail from her computer. I was getting some calls too and she was impressed by the whole thing.

I know now that if I ever move so does my skype. I can keep it no matter where I am. Nice that skype is!

Take care until next time.
Check out Skype

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

The holidays are here...does this mean decreased call quality?

The holidays are here and it's time to see what life will be like with skype. It could be safe to say that information/traffic will rise on the internet over the holidays. How much this will affect skype and VoIP as a whole remains to be seen.
With lots of people calling and arranging get togethers during this season we could see some latency in overall traffic quality. This is only a theory and does not represent any form of scientific fact that call quality will in fact be deminished due to increased internet traffic. This is just a theory of mine so if you have anything you would like to add please email me at skypefamily@comcast.net.
Receive calls from old-fashioned telephones on your computer with a SkypeIn number. And we’ll throw in voicemail for free.www.skype.com

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A genuine SkypeOut Call made with our Touch-1 usb phone from Ipevo. You can decide for yourself.

this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, November 18, 2005

Yeah! Ipevo updates USB touch-1 phone driver

Ipevo has updated the software driver for their popular line of skype usb telephones touch-1. The new driver seems to be working just fine and thanks to Ipevo for fixing it.
Check out our Frappr!

Thank You and I give you an opinion.

Thanks to everyone who even takes the time to read this blog. It's a compliment and makes me feel good that anyone would take the time to read our story about dropping our local telephone service for an internet based telephone system.

I know their are some smarter folks out there with better ideas and maybe some better services that may provide them with better call quality. That's not what this blog is about though. It's really about all of the choices that were available to us in our remote area of the world and our ability to take back control over what we pay for and use. Skype was my choice and I'm glad I made that choice. That's what this blog is all about. Our life with VoIP/Skype...so far so good.

Not everyone will be able to make that switch to an internet only telephone system (VoIP) and drop their local telephone companies. The reasons are many as to why this is not possible for everyone in the world. Our situation did allow us to make the switch and again...I'm glad I did.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

How about a voice changer plug-in for skype?

I think that would be a cool feature to add to the application in some future version of skype. Or something you could download somewhere else. That...would be cool! Yes? No? Let me know here.

Cast your vote!

Have you dropped your local telephone service for VoIP/Skype? Cast you vote here

$36.86 Balance

That's how much is left of our balance. I suppose I will recharge our credit when it gets down to around $20.

The call quality has been good with skype. However, I have had to rid my system of some spyware that was bogging down my connection lately witch I do feel have had an effect on some of the calls. This spyware stuff will not leave us alone. I have different scanners that pick something up here and something up there. It looks like are things are good for now.
Check out our Frappr!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Big Skype Family and growing

Check out our Frappr!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Thanks everyone for voting.

Be sure to head on over to the skype forums and cast your vote. The results will be posted here as soon as it reaches 100 votes. Thanks again for your vote.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Good Morning!

I wish there was something different here but I cannot complain one bit. Our balance is now $39.47. Again that's "normal" family calling. I put normal in quotes because I feel that it's normal calling for our family. Your family calling may use more or less minutes in the day or month.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Say Hello Everyone!!!

Check out our Frappr!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Anyone need the driver for the Ipevo Touch-1 USB Phone I have it.

If anyone needs the new driver for the Ipevo touch-1 USB phone you can skype me and I will be more than happy to transfer that file to you. It works!!!

Describing the vulnerability of skype in this bulletin

Here is skype's page describing the security issue with old version of skype (click on the link above).

Here is skype's security page.

$41.63 Balance

Not too bad. Normal week of calling here and there. We are still waiting from the guys at Ipevo to come back with that driver though. They still have not gotten back with me on the USB phone driver issue. Kind of disappointed. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them a little more time to come up with a solution before I start taking some action towards the company.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


There is a new version of skype just released. Version: Release date: October 25, 2005. That's for the Windows version.

Version: Release date: October 25, 2005. That's for the Mac OS X version.

$43.24 Balance

Just an update on our balance/credit is now $43.24. Since October 14, 2005 calling people in normal day to day affairs...checking on the bank account, talking to the wife, talking to Dad, Mom, both sisters, and nephew. Calling Australia was easy and talked for around 3 minutes for approximately .06. Not bad.

The wife talks to her Mom and relatives as well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Glitch with Ipevo driver

There's a glitch with the USB skype phone driver that we have. I emailed Ipevo about it and they said they were going to email me a new driver so that would not happen. The glitch is that when I shut down and/or restart the pc I have to reload the software so that the phone is recognized by the skype application. It's just an annoying issue.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Skype phone installed

These skype phones are so cute. They are small just like a cellphone and have an eight foot usb cable. They sound nice and have four ring tones that sound like generic cellphone type ringtones. These phones seem more uesful for laptop users in a mobile environment though. They do the job for right now and offer better privacy and sound quality than sitting in front of the pc with just a mic and speakers.

As soon as I get the digital camera I'll take some pics of the packaging and actual phone.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Phones come in today

Our ipevo skype phones come in by fedex today. I will put up some photos of the packaging and some screen shots of the setup if possible.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A 47:37 Minute long distance call for only $1.005

That's right folks! I talked to my father yesterday for about 47 minutes for around $1.00 with great sound quality on both ends. Now, my long distance was not the most expensive with my previous land line connection -- .10 a minute. Still, that's about a $3.70 savings and multiply that times 52 weeks a year(for those who call at least once a week) and that comes out to around a $192 a year savings. That's money we will never have to let go of and give to our local telephone company.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Speed Test Link

Speakeasy Speed Test


No more land line and no more rural telephone monopoly. I've been waiting a long time for this day. But, we still have to pay that last bill.

All that's left is to get those skype phones in and that should happen by Friday. Here is our official average internet speed -- 8211 kbps download and 712 kbps upload. I picked the Atlanta server location to check since that was closer to me.

We also boosted up the Skype credits to hedge against any unforeseen circumstances as far as the budget is concerned. Our new balance is $48.31 as of this post.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Here is a call made via SkypeOut service.

this is an audio post - click to play


The download speed has been increased to 8Mps and 768Kps. It's pretty fast. This is going to beef up the call quality I hope.

Our phones are not here yet so...I am not able to give an audio clip so you can judge the sound quality.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Our download speed increases today

Our download speed will increase to 8Mps and around 700k upload. Comcast is scheduled to make that change for us sometime Monday. Our yearly average for the voip service now goes up $120 and extra $10 per month. This will make it possible to have good call quality overall. Pretty fast if you ask me...considering our location.

Skype audio post a no go!

I was not able to make the audio post with my current set up. Appears that the sype interface does not allow for recognition of touch tones. But I will try to post one whenever the skype phone comes in.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

COMING SOON! A genuine Skype audio post.

I will be posting an audio post made using Skype soon. Be sure to check that out so that you can judge for yourself if Skype is worth the Hype.

Our first Skype phone

Here's a looky look at our first skype phone. We ordered two. One for the computer upstairs and one for the one downstairs. I'll be posting some pics of the packaging once we get them in on Wednesday. Right now everybody feels kind of strange sitting in front of the computer just talking into thin air.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Here are the cost comparisons.

Current: Approximately $110 a month for a landline and DSL package. That's with the top speed DSL package that they offer which is approximately 3megs download. Pretty fast! Add Taxes, and Long distance is .10 a minute. Average per year $1320.00

VOIP: Comcast broadband service which is 6megs download and comes to $210 for 1st 6 months then $324 for the remaining year. The initial Skype setup was $22 + $10 a month for Skypeout minutes at .0232 cents a minute for outgoing and incoming calls. All of those services add to approximately $676 average per year.

Now, VOIP service ends up winning here. With a savings of around $644 per year.

With Skypeout WE WILL NOT have the ability to make 911 calls. I don't know if they will be inlcuding that in the future releases or not. Skype does make it clear that you cannot call 911 with the Skypeout service. In the meantime we will be using our cellphones to dial 911 if we have to.

Another point here. When the power goes out Skype will be unavailable. Our cordless phones that we have now will not work when the power goes out either.

Our current balance for Skypeout is $12.01. I will be letting you know when and how often we will be refilling our "credits" as they are called on the website.This will allow us to make an accurate cost comparison between how much we use the telephone on average in a year.
You can Give me a call here just click on the button below.

Call me!

Lets get it started shall we...

Here's our setup.

1. We have Comcast broadband service that includes the 6meg downloads package. Pretty fast for our area of the country. Currently the special price for Comcast subscribers: $24 a month for 6 months afterwards it goes up to $44 a month. No contracts or setup fees. It took two days to install everything and set us up.

2. A PC that's downstairs that's hooked up to the broadband connection with a Linksys router for the upstairs computer. Standard stuff you will find in a PC selling at Wal-mart. Nothing too fancy by today's standards.

3. After looking around on the web for some voip providers we/I decided to get us on the Skype service. If you want to check them out you can here... http://www.skype.com .I downloaded the software which took about 15 minutes to set up with a user account and purchase a LOCAL telephone number and some additional credits to get started. With everything together it cost us $22 to get going with Skype. I had to find a local number so that our friends and family would not be charged for the long distance.

4. Sitting in front of the computer talking into a microphone doesn't feel like the traditional way to talk on the phone so I decided to order 2 USB phones that are designed to be used with the Skype service. That was around $45 with shipping and handling via FedEx 3 day. You can check them out right here... http://www.ipevo.com/ .

So that's about it for the hardware/software part of the operation.

We have made a couple of calls to each other after all of the setup. My wife says she doesn't like the echo and sitting in front of the computer to talk. But we have agreed on one thing...It is good sound quality on both ends. I'm a little bit more optimistic about the whole thing than she is right now and the usb phones are on the way.

We will officially cut off our service with the local telephone company at the end of this month. Starting November 2005 it will be all voip for us.