As I’ve mentioned many times, I love Skype. My friend, Paul Moor who lives in Berlin, and I talk almost every day using its computer-to-computer connection. During 2006, the good folks at Skype made calling any phone in the U. S. or Canada, regardless of whether the other party had Skype installed, free until December 31, 2006, and I’ve used that feature a number of times with good results. The sound quality is good and the ability to talk with my hands free to type or otherwise use my computer is something I really appreciate. In addition, I have used Hot Recorder to record some of those conversations and use them in audio blog posts.
At the beginning of the new year, Skype will begin charging for the privilege of making those calls to landlines or cell phones in the U. S. and Canada for what seems to me to be a reasonable fee of $29.95 for the entire year. However, if you sign up for this feature before January 31st, you can get it for $14.95 for the entire year. Here is the link to that offer. Computer-to-computer Skype calls to anywhere in the world remain free of course. This fee is for unlimited calling to landlines and cell phones in the U. S. and Canada, so this appears to be one of those times when buying early and avoiding the rush is a wise choice.