Holy crap! I just had a video call from Japan!

So today I got a new headset and fired up Skype. I made a free phone call to my friends up north, and then just left Skype running.

I’m reading the Dope, and Skype flashes up. It’s this guy from Brasil who I’ve run into online occasionally, he’s in Japan teaching an introductory class in Esperanto, and he’s Skype-calling all over the world to demonstrate how the language can be used in international communications.

There’s a video window, and I can see the rest of the class. We chat for a while, and then he goes on to call someone else.

Yes, yes, I know. Webcams have been around for years, and I just haven’t paid attention to them. but it looks like bandwidth has improved to the point where the quality doesn’t suck anymore. In fact, it’s quite clear, though there is a bit of a delay. Cheap international communications! Damn, this is cool.

Now I have to get a webcam. :slight_smile:

Oops, I thought I was in MPSIMS. Mods, could you please move this? Thanks.

Oh, neat. I’ve always wanted to invest in a webcam, but I’m kind of afraid that I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from becoming a cam-whore with the aid of an amazon wishlist and my non-existent moral integrity. v:(v

Wouldn’t this thread have been more appropriate in MPSIMS, by the way?

Well, you know, cam-whoring isn’t necessarily a bad thing, providing that it’s remunerative and doesn’t take over your life…

The other thing that’s been inhibiting me is that I’d have to get better task lighting [sub]and tidy up my apartment[/sub].

Ref. Post #2 :slight_smile:

Skype is the best service I’ve found for video, but I like Googletalk better for voice.

Skype and googletalk have become necessities for me now, since I’m in a long-distance relatinship. It helps so much to be able to see my boyfriend’s face, and see that wide smile and easy laugh, from time to time, even if I can’t see it in person.

Webcam? Nah, not for me. Someone once said that I have the perfect face for radio, so I’ll keep things that way.

I will say that I’ve been quite impressed with the spoken wordcasts I’ve heard on the Internet recently though. Much improved over the way they used to be. I should look into more of that kind of thing.

That’s what having high-speed internet in the majority of connections will do for us… :slight_smile:

My friend Mike and I are looking at Asterix, which is an open-source PBX that runs on Linux.

Basically you put this stuff on a cheap PC in everyone’s house, connect the PCs to the internet by high-speed, and instruct the PCs to link up with each other. Bam! Every PC becomes part of a distributed private phone exchange, and all the users, no matter how far apart they are, are just an extension call away, through the usual PC headset and microphone.

So far, this is not that different from a permanent conference room on Skype or Googletalk or the other voice chat systems… but it runs all the time on dedicated hardware, so it’s more reliable.

And you can add things.

You can connect the system to Skype-like communities that use open communications protocols. (Skype may have the numbers and the media buzz, but, sadly, is trying to remain a closed community with its own proprietary protocols. People are Working On this problem.)

You can add a card to plug a regular phone into the system. You can also add cards to connect one or more of the PCs to traditional phone lines.

The PBX handles incoming regular phone calls. You can send them to any extension anywhere on the system. And extension users can call out to the regular phone system.

With proper planning, you can end up with one phone that will seamlessly handle internet calling and regular phone calling. I have seen wireless phones that can connect to the system through any 802.11 access point (I’ve also seen one for use with Skype’s protocols). I’m waiting for one that is also a cellphone.

With proper planning, this thing could cut our phone bills trememdously.

Moving thread from IMHO to MPSIMS.