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bruce
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: south carolina
 
2006-03-15, 13:46

I have one iBook G4 with OS version 10.4.5, and another iBook with OS version 10.3.9.
I am thinking of starting to use VOIP, such as skype, for my phone calls.
(We have lousy phone service in our area.) Should I buy a usb phone
or a headset + microphone? Do all usb phones work on the mac?
The macs are wifi-ed in our house, can I take advantage of that?
I would appreciate any comments or advice.
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Franz Josef
Passing by
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: London, Europe
 
2006-03-15, 13:57

Skype and Gizmo are both good - accessories here and here. A USB headset works well.
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rminkler
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
 
2006-03-15, 14:05

I looked into those USB phones a few months ago, and there was only one that worked with the Mac, and then only with internal beta drivers (that may have been released by now). Unfortunatly I don't remember which.

I recommend that you look into SIP or IAX clients with a service like Broadvoice instead of Skype. JackenIAX is a really nifty IAX client (softphone), and you could use it with a bluetooth headset (or a USB one). The reason I recommend IAX or SIP, is that these are industry standard systems, and you can easily switch service providers, or even set up an asterisk server and configure your own PBX - you have lots of options. Skype on the other hand, is a closed system, which is not standard, and is not compatable with other services and the growing range of IAX and SIP hardware.

Edit: Just to clarify, there are industry standard VOIP protocols, which allow for interoperability between a huge variety of software and hardware. Skype is not one of these standards, and if you go with skype you will be essentially locked into their system and skype specific hardware.

Last edited by rminkler : 2006-03-15 at 14:11.
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Maciej
M AH - ch ain saw
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2006-03-15, 14:21

I think a Bluetooth USB headset would be prime, you can sit on the couch while the computer sits on your desk. Beaut.
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Franz Josef
Passing by
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: London, Europe
 
2006-03-15, 15:57

Quote:
Originally Posted by rminkler
Skype is not one of these standards, and if you go with skype you will be essentially locked into their system and skype specific hardware.
True indeed but Skype use is very widespread. Hardware fairly standard for the most part - nothing too esoteric.
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Gargoyle
http://ga.rgoyle.com
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: In your dock hiding behind your finder icon!
 
2006-03-15, 18:36

Have a go at installing Asterix! Not sure if there are any USB adaptor cards, but I am sure there are some ethernet ones... Anyway, all the info will be available from that link.

OK, I have given up keeping this sig up to date. Lets just say I'm the guy that installs every latest version as soon as its available!
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2006-03-15, 18:44

I'm not sure if you only wanted info for computer based VoIP solutions but here's my input. I use Vonage and have been for years now. I have two lines with them and service is great. My mom also uses Vonage at her home in Charleston SC. It is hooked into her home wiring so she didn't have to upgrade the old answering machine they have (It uses cassette tapes). There is a "soft phone" with Vonage, but don't know if it works with Mac or not. (I don't use it, just know it is there.)

Price is great too, unlimited incoming and 500 minutes for about $18 or $27 for unlimited outbound (after taxes, etc.) It seems to be free for other VoIP services too. I call my voicemail which is IP based and it doesn't count toward my minutes. Since the phone adapters are ethernet devices it won't matter that you use a Mac. Hope that helps.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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bruce
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: south carolina
 
2006-03-15, 21:27

Regarding vonage, incoming calls go through the vonage box,
even if we have detatched our computers from the network?
We have DSL through our local phone company, but for some
reason, it often happens that we have no dial tone for phone calls,
but we still have DSL. Do you think the vonage line would work in this
situation? It sounds great if that is the case.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2006-03-15, 22:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce
Regarding vonage, incoming calls go through the vonage box,
even if we have detatched our computers from the network?
Yes, the calls are routed through the phone adapter. The output of the phone adapter can be connected to your home wiring, or to and expandable base system. (I like in a multi-dwelling unit and do not have personal access to my phone wiring so this is what we use.)

Quote:
We have DSL through our local phone company, but for some
reason, it often happens that we have no dial tone for phone calls,
but we still have DSL. Do you think the vonage line would work in this
situation? It sounds great if that is the case.
Yes it would. DSL and voice run on different frequencies on your home's phone wiring. So just because the landline is down doesn't mean you VoIP line will go down. However, if you DSL line goes down then your VoIP line will too. In that case, any VoIP service or net based service would be dropped too so not really a big deal. There is the SoftPhone also and it does work for Mac. This works will to hotspot or if in a hotel type of situation. Then again, it can work in your own home.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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rminkler
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
 
2006-03-16, 01:08

Quote:
I'm not sure if you only wanted info for computer based VoIP solutions but here's my input. I use Vonage and have been for years now. I have two lines with them and service is great. My mom also uses Vonage at her home in Charleston SC. It is hooked into her home wiring so she didn't have to upgrade the old answering machine they have (It uses cassette tapes). There is a "soft phone" with Vonage, but don't know if it works with Mac or not. (I don't use it, just know it is there.)

Price is great too, unlimited incoming and 500 minutes for about $18 or $27 for unlimited outbound (after taxes, etc.)
Services like BroadVoice or VoipJet are much cheaper. BroadVoice has a 10$ a month plan with unlimited in-state long distance, and I don't think that out of state long distance is very expensive. Additionally, the Vonage soft-phone costs 10$ extra a month, and setting up that kind of functionality with most other VOIP companies is free (granted, that 10$ puts the soft-phone on it's own line). Vonage has a big marketing presence, but they have one of the most expensive VOIP services around.
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bruce
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: south carolina
 
2006-03-16, 07:04

Quote:
Originally Posted by rminkler
Services like BroadVoice or VoipJet are much cheaper. BroadVoice has a 10$ a month plan with unlimited in-state long distance, and I don't think that out of state long distance is very expensive. Additionally, the Vonage soft-phone costs 10$ extra a month, and setting up that kind of functionality with most other VOIP companies is free (granted, that 10$ puts the soft-phone on it's own line). Vonage has a big marketing presence, but they have one of the most expensive VOIP services around.
Does not the fact that Vonage works independent of the computer, and on the already existing home phones,
give it an advantage? With BroadVoice I have to buy a headset or USB phone and plug it into my
computer, and I cannot be in the kitchen while talking. But if I go with BroadVoice, what phone
works well with my iBook? By the way, thanks for the help with all my stupid questions; I really
appreciate it.
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rminkler
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
 
2006-03-16, 11:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce
Does not the fact that Vonage works independent of the computer, and on the already existing home phones,
give it an advantage? With BroadVoice I have to buy a headset or USB phone and plug it into my
computer, and I cannot be in the kitchen while talking. But if I go with BroadVoice, what phone
works well with my iBook? By the way, thanks for the help with all my stupid questions; I really
appreciate it.
The Box that Vonage ships (and I should point out that I am a customer with them, and will be for two more months so as to avoid the cancellation fee when I leave) is a SIP phone adapter. It's exactly the same thing that you would use with a different VIOP service, except that Vonage has locked theirs down - you can only use it with them, and you can't configure it yourself. SIP is a protocol that VOIP hardware and software use to talk to each other (IAX is another). There are lots of hardware SIP phones (AKA it's a telephone with a ethernet port, and you plug it into your home network, or your work network, or wherever - it operates completely independent of a computer). With a soft-phone, you would be talking on your computer. That's why I Don't recommend Vonage - VOIP is incredible because of the options and choices, but with Vonage all those options are locked down and costly extras.

http://www.iptel.org/info/products/sipphones.php

This is a list of phones (for hard-phones, scroll down past soft-phones). Some are telephone adapters, so they are just boxes with an ethernet port and a telephone port, and you plug any phone into them, and others are full fledged telephones. There are even phones coming out now or soon that look like cell phones and connect to wifi networks.

Usually these devices are configured the same way that a router is configured - you go to a computer on the same network and type the IP address of the phone into your browser, and then a web-based configuration utility pops up (this way is best because it's platform independent).

Edit: The cool thing is that the service provider sees no difference between a hard-phone and a soft-phone, so you are free to switch back and forth as your needs shift. Both are simply SIP or IAX telephones.
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naren
snail herder
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: in the midst of the mightly mississippi...
Send a message via ICQ to naren Send a message via MSN to naren Send a message via Skype™ to naren 
2006-03-17, 16:52

I have this IPEVO, which works well with Skype and it has lots of options. I wish it were wireless though.
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macleod
Now in lower-case™!
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
 
2006-06-23, 17:11

Are there any cordless ones that work with macs yet? Or does anyone have information on ones that might be coming out soon?
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macleod
Now in lower-case™!
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
 
2006-07-12, 13:24

BUMP! Any one know the answer to my question above? I have been searching and can't find one that plugs in via usb and then the actual phone is cordless like a regular land line style cordless phone. Thanks in advance!
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