March Apps Mania 2009 – VoIP

March 9, 2009

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It’s a mouthful, but the important part is voice over Internet. VoIP is a way of sending your voice over the Internet to someone else.

There are 3 ways to make a call.

  1. You can use an analog telephone adaptor
  2. You can use a special WiFi Phone
  3. Or you can call computer to computer.

We’re going to talk about how to make a computer to computer VoIP call.

All it takes is a microphone and some free software and you can make free calls using your computer. These are four of the free services you can use:

  1. Skype
  2. Meebo
  3. GoogleTalk
  4. YahooIM

Skype is a program that you can download to your computer for free. It allows you to make calls to other people who use Skype.

skype

To make a phone call, just click on the person you want to call and then click the green call button at the bottom.

In the image at right, it shows that the line is ringing. Once David picks up, we can talk to each other using our computer microphones!

Because we’re both using Skype we can talk for free all day long. It doesn’t matter if David is in Huntsville, Alabama or Holland. The call is free.

If you have a web cam connected to your computer, you can also use Skype as a video phone. Finally! I was promised video phones back in 1985. It is about time…

It isn’t just for talking – it allows you to send links and files to people too. So, it is a great way to collaborate on a project or have a meeting when folks aren’t able to travel.

gtalkGoogle Talk is another VoIP program. It is very similar to Skype. To get started, you have to download software and install it on your computer. To make a call, you have to find a friend that also uses Google Talk.

The video isn’t as good as what you get with Skype, but it isn’t bad. And the best part – calls are free, no matter where you are in the world!

Remember when we talked about Meebo?

Meebo allows you to make VoIP calls without installing software. It doesn’t get any easier!

The best part? If you’ve got an account with AIM, Yahoo, or Google Talk, you can sign in to Meebo using your AIM, Yahoo, or Google Talk account.

meebo

Have your friends sign in to Meebo too and you can talk over the Internet instead of typing messages back and forth. And it is free – no matter where you are in the world!

I hope you’ll give VoIP a try. My brother has Skype, so I can call and say hello and actually SEE how everyone is doing. It is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:1. Use your existing Yahoo, Google, or AOL account to sign in to Meebo.

(If you did the Google Docs lesson you should have a Google account already.)

It isn’t super impressive if you don’t have a list of friends to call. If you really want to try out Meebo and VoIP, buddy up with a colleague-friend and give Meebo a try.

2. In the comments, tell us: Have you had any experience using VoIP for meetings or library conferences?

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3 Responses to “March Apps Mania 2009 – VoIP”

  1. Bright Blue Jacket Says:

    Tonight we tried to use plain Google Talk IM (we don’t have webcams or microphones at our staff computers for VoIP) via Meebo, and Google Talk is mondo glitchtastic and won’t let you sign in (at all) or configure itself with Meebo. The problem we were having was flooding the Google Talk forum for months and had not be resolved as of the time of writing.

    I know from personal experience that other IM services work great with Meebo though for what it is worth.

  2. Jenny Says:

    I hadn’t had that problem with Google IM – bummer it has a lot of glitches. I’m a big fan of Meebo. I think it works better than any other IM I’ve tried.

  3. Bright Blue Jacket Says:

    We were using Google accounts with email addresses with other domains besides gmail, e.g., *@hotmail.com and *@nashville.org. I think that was having something to do with it.


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