A couple of years ago I acquired this little Vosky, which by that time I didn’t think it was going to be so useful and represent that much saveing in money for me. When I bought it, I really did because I wanted to be able to do Skype calls (using Skype regular calls or even SkypeOut calls) regularly, without the hassle of being in front of my computer or having to carry my laptop around the house.
I connected it, and saw how easy it was to use, I just connected a regular touch tone phone to it, connected the landline and connected it to my desktop computer at home and started doing calls in Skype from a simple and regular wireless phone which also received regular landline’s calls. Later, Skype upgraded and guess what? They removed the Speed-Dial option from Skype (I’m still wondering why they would such thing), and this is what is basically used in order to be able to call a Skype contact in your list through the wireless phone (meaning that you don’t need to be in front of the computer running Skype) but I found a solution here, where someone did a ‘plugin’ which can let you set up Skype’s Speed-dial contacts even with the latest Skype’s version.
But soon, I discovered I could get more from this simple $30 investment, I could just set it up as my personal ‘follow me’ system, which would allow me to receive any Skype call received at my computer but at my cellphone. That way, if a friend called me from anywhere in the world to my Skype, I won’t miss the call when I was at the office or just outside my house, because the box would use my home’s landline and would route the Skype call to my cellphone at the cost of a regular home to cellphone call.
Well, so far, I felt that those 50 bucks were greatly spent, but… I lived in a big house (my parent’s house by that time), so I basically had to have the wireless phone with me and sometimes its reception wasn’t the best (when you live in a 2 floor house with concrete walls, signal is a big issue for wireless phones and just one is not enough), so I started playing and found out that I could connect the box to the phone system! This diagram shows how I did it.
Well, this made what I thought impossible: the entire house could make a Skype or SkypeOut call, from any of the phone extensions in it and of course receive them. It even could identify using the called ID which Skype user was calling me, I felt in the top of the (geek) world.
This box comes with a very useful and money saving functionality, we all know that Skype’s rates are very competitive, as for a lot of countries calls can be made as cheap as 1 cent per minute. But, what if you are in the office or just driving home and you need to do an important call overseas? Well, the box could work just as a gateway, very similar to how prepaid international calling cards work, and when you dial home from your cellphone or any other phone, you just needed to enter a 3 digit code that you could set up in the box and you would have access to the Skype’s account at home. This means that from this point you could even call any of the Skype users in your list (using their speed-dial that you previously set up for each one of them of course) or any phone number in the world. What you would be spending is the cost from your cellphone to your home call (which in some cases can be null, as you have free minutes in your cellphone’s plan) and the SkypeOut cost for the amount of time of the call which can be just few cents.
This was so great, I basically had my own calling card system at home, and I didn’t have to dial annoying 800 numbers which I won’t remember or inifinite 10 digits code for the calling card, just simple and easy: calling home, 3 digits code and then just the speed-dial code (which is 1 or 2 digits and then asterisk) or the number I wanted to call outside the country.
But later, during a vacation trip outside the country, I realized that having the system calling me to my cellular phone would result in a tragedy for my budget due to the high roaming rates, so I started using my geeky imagination and came with a plan: I needed to find out a way to make this box route a regular phone call but to a Skype account. Well, I figured out a way to use the ‘gateway’ functionality, and set up a second Skype account which I would use in my netbook which I bring with me in any trip outside the country and set up a speed-dial for it on my home’s Skype account to that mobile Skype’s account and that was it!
Basically, anyone who I would like to be able to find me during my international trip, just had to call my house and dial in the 3 digit code (which I would provide as they were relatives a friends and I could just change it once I get back) and then dial the speed-dial for my account and that was it, I could keep in touch with anyone in another country, and it won’t cost me a penny, because the call would be made Skype to Skype, which is free and for that person, they would be calling locally to my home. Instructions were not that complicated, because if you think about it, as I said before, the concept is just the same as if your friend or relative buys a prepaid calling card to call you, with the only difference that he doesn’t have to know any new phone number, he just dials your home which probably he already knows, and he also doesn’t have to look for a long and tedious code to be entered every time he has to call you, he only has to dial a 3 digit password and then your speed-dial which consists of a number and then asterisk.
As if this was not enough, the Vosky comes with a voicemail software too, just in case someone calls you when you’re out, so it also works as your voicemail system, which you can check once you get home and it stores everything on your computer, meaning that you have it safe.
Of course, this could be better yet for those users who can use Skype at the mobile phones (such as Windows Mobile, iPhone or Android users) because they won’t even have to bring the netbook with them, they just need their cellphone and that’s it.